Making Good Memories

I have just returned from a dream-trip of a lifetime.  This trip has been on my “bucket list” for years and I will carry the memories with me forever… so many over the top experiences.

I’ve known for my 20+ years of working in the dementia field, that there are many family members who think they can no longer make “good memories” for themselves with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia.  This is a statement that I think is unfortunate and inaccurate.  Does it take more work to make good memories?  Do you have to be more creative?  Do you have to think outside the box?  ABSOLUTELY!

Patients – loved ones – can still enjoy experiences that they are exposed to on a daily basis.  Just spend some time with them when a musician comes to their memory-care community.  You see them tapping their feet or snapping their fingers… they get up and move or actually dance to the music… they sing the national anthem or “Red River Valley” or “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” You see smiles on their faces and you know — you just know— they are having a good time and enjoying themselves.

If you are caring for your love one at home, there are many things you can do to bring joy into your Mom’s life and create good memories for you. Dancing or singing with her in the living room… playing music and singing with or for her before she gets up in the morning… serving her favorite food… dishes of ice cream… quiet walks while holding hands… sharing a cup of coffee… just sitting and watching a sunset. You know what your Mom used to like to do.  Remember those memories and try recreating them as she journeys through this disease.  Children and animals are guaranteed to put a smile on her face and warm her heart.

Will your loved one remember all of the wonderful moments you have recreated for her or shared with her? We know the answer is no.  But she will have “lived  in the moment” as we say, and enjoyed every minute of it.

And for you?  You will have the joy of knowing you brought a smile to her face and shared a moment in time that can never be taken away from you. The smile… the touch… the brief recognition of enjoyment makes it all worth it. Don’t miss that special opportunity.

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