Written by Sandra Harris
|Image: J. Patrick on Flickr|
Suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer's Disease, is often a very isolating experience. Having a scrapbook or photo album, can provide your elderly friend or loved one, with a few clues to their identity. It can be very comforting to look through pictures, but be sure and include a few details. Take time to write below each photograph, where the photo was taken, when it was taken, and who is present in the picture. By leaving a very clear guide to each photo, you eliminate a great deal of confusion. This type of gift will be cherished, especially by someone who is struggling to remember who they are and where they fit in life.
Hearing the chorus to one of your favorite songs has the ability to not only put a smile on your face, but it can also bring back memories. When giving music as a gift to someone with Dementia or Alzheimer's Disease, aim for songs that fit the person well, like personal favorites, songs from significant times in their life, or classic oldies.
A collection of classic films can create great stimulation for someone who is suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer's Disease. The movies from the “good old days” not only provide great laughs, but they can bring back memories of fashion, lifestyle, and the culture of days gone by.
As Dementia or Alzheimer's Disease progresses, the person can become less and less aware of their surroundings. This is a key time to focus on more sensory stimulating gifts. Things like a soft blanket, a cozy sweater, or a light scented lotion can be very soothing. When the memories become vague, the gift of moment by moment comforts becomes priceless.
Although, someone who is battling Dementia or Alzheimer's is often unaware of time, the gift of your time is so valuable. Take time to visit your friend or loved one, look into their eyes, and share a story with them. Tell them about your life and create a new memory...even if it only lasts for a moment.
After taking into account, any given allergies or possible food restrictions, surprise your elderly friend with some freshly baked goods. Food brings people together and having a warm cookie can certainly turn a dull day, into something really special.
A simple puzzle can be a wonderful, brain stimulating game for someone with Dementia or Alzheimer's. You can also copy a picture of the box and laminate it so that the person has a very clear idea of what it is that they are trying to assemble. If the puzzle seem to overwhelm, try putting out a few pieces at a time or asking your friend to pick out the edge pieces first. At the end of the day, you want to encourage success no matter what that looks like. So, if that means you never finish the puzzle, but looking at the beautiful colored pieces provides enjoyment, then the gift is worth every penny.
Sandra Harris is a writer and nurturer for the needs of the aging. She works in the Houston retirement industry.