Laurie Owen: Hi! I'm Laurie Owen from Home Instead Senior Care. Today I am talking about how to use your loved ones memories to provide comfort in the present. People with Alzheimer's disease or another Dementia, often experience problems with memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Because they are often no longer able to store new information efficiently, people with the Dementia often use experiences from the past to make sense of the present. By gathering stories and information from your loved ones past, you can help create meaningful activities for them and manage their behaviors more effectively, thereby reducing stress and providing a better quality of life. At Home Instead Senior Care, we call this capturing life's journey. You probably already know many of your loved ones memories. Start by writing those down either chronologically or by topic. Some examples include family, childhood, parents, pets and family traditions.
Other big topic categories include marriage and children, careers or favorite foods, sports and leisure activities. Other ways to gather your loved ones life stories include asking them directly, observing their surroundings or asking other questions. Always use open ended questions that start with words such as, tell me about or why or how. These types of questions elicit more details that would be useful later on. As you gather this information, you can organize it into a journal. This can be a binder, notebook or scrapbook that you have available to use and share. Be sure to separate the material into several categories such as youth, marriage and career so that it is easy to get or add more information. Once you have the information, you can then use the information from the journal to help keep your loved one engaged and manage his or her behaviors, making life less stressful for you both.