Mashable have produced a wonderful video clip where 4 senior ladies talk about their first kiss. Three appear to remember the event very clearly and only one doesn’t, although she says she wishes she could.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society reminiscing is a good way to help patients with the disease to communicate and it can lead to a happy conversation with someone you love.
The society have produced a book called ‘memories are made of this’ and it gives lots of advice and suggestions about the topics to choose and what resources to use to elicit those all-important memories.
In 2013 a blog on the American Alzheimer’s.net website, talked about the benefit of using the Montessori Method, which is normally associated with children; to help sufferers unlock their memories. They do this through the use of music and crafts, or any activity that means picking items up and handling them.
The authors of the book: You say goodbye and we say hello, Karen and Tom Brenner, say that using materials based on a individuals strengths, interests and needs should build a sense of familiarity for sufferers.
They want to see institutions who have alzheimer’s patients build up a set of group activities like for instance painting, drumming, or gardening or for individual attention,place an article that was used or enjoyed by the patient before they became ill, some coloured cloth, fishing gear or a bunch of wild herbs.
They appreciate that it may take some time to find something that opens up the memories, but in their opinion taking a holistic approach will be of greater benefit to patients.
Other recommended ways to elicit memories by the UK Alzheimer’s Society is by the use of old photographs, or the creation of a memory box. Asking patients about their first kiss, their first date or the song a couple always thought of as ‘theirs’ is a memory with a strong link to the past and the people they loved.
Even elderly people who aren’t suffering from alzheimer’s love to talk and often they are not given the opportunity because they are either stuck at home without companionship or in care.
Age concern has a very successful befriending scheme where volunteers make regular phone calls or visits to elderly people at home. During home visits pensioners are able to chat, play puzzles or games like scrabble or cards or simply reminisce about the past, for example reminiscing your first kiss.
If you volunteer or you have an elderly person at home, encourage them to make a memory box now, which you can keep and use in the future. Dig out old photographs and make an album. If they enjoy getting out and about and they’re not shy, why not ask your local school or community association if they would like to hear a little about how life was in your local area all those years ago.
Memories, like that first kiss are precious and helping seniors to keep those memories alive can be a wonderful task.