How Memory Minder Kits can help you connect with your loved one

Sunrise Senior Living  |  May 4, 2017
When your loved one has dementia, you put a lot of effort into providing the best care you can give.
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When your loved one is experiencing memory loss, you put a lot of effort into providing the best care you can give. 

Interacting with a loved one who has Alzheimer's can be challenging in some cases, especially as the condition evolves over time. Activities that were once fun and comprehensible for your loved one may become confusing and uninteresting a few months later. It can become harder to hold a conversation as Alzheimer's progresses into its later stages, where word recall and comprehension diminish significantly. 

Sunrise of Roseville, MN, recently partnered with local senior living communities and their local library to develop memory minder kits, aimed to help families better connect with loved ones. These kits are available for caregivers to check out like they would a library book so they can access these valuable resources at home. 

What is a Memory Minder Kit?
These kits are specifically curated to help improve interactions between people with Alzheimer's and their loved ones. Each kit includes activities that can inspire conversation, assist with memory recall and provide entertainment. 

The kits are tailored to different stages of memory loss, offering guidance to caregivers and taking the guesswork out of finding a suitable recreation for their loved one. For example:

  • High Activity Level kits are designed for those with early-stage memory loss. These are people who can understand the concept and goals of the activities they're doing. They may need cues from time to time to stay on track, but they're able to respond to those signals. To determine if this is the level for your loved, at this stage, they should still be able to mostly dress themselves, even if thy need help with some details on occasion.
  • Middle Activity Level kits are for people with mid-grade memory loss. They're unable to understand the goals of the tasks in the kit, but they can follow steps provided to them to get games and projects completed. They'll need guidance for each stage of the task. Those with moderate Alzheimer's are still physically able to dress themselves, but they need help to get the basics. 
  • Low Activity Level kits are made for people who have late-stage memory loss. Caregivers will need to physically assist their loved ones with the tasks in these kits. At this stage, they will be unable to dress themselves at all.

Each kit contains:

  • An interactive activity appropriate for the person's stage. These may include puzzles, games or conversation cards. 
  • A colorful, illustrated book designed for people with memory loss. 
  • A CD with calming music to help with memory recollection and soothing your loved one.
  • The book "A Caregiver's Guide to Dementia" by Laura Gitlin, to help you navigate the behaviors and actions your loved one may display with Alzheimer's. 
  • Tips and resource lists for caregivers to find more information on supporting a loved one living with dementia.

The goal with these materials is to make it easier for family members to interact with their loved ones with memory loss, keeping them engaged and comfortable while providing valuable stimulation that can help slow the effects of the disease.

Memory Minder Kits contain music, books and activities you can do with your loved ones who have dementia. Memory Minder Kits contain music, books and activities you can do with your loved ones who have dementia.

Activities that may help
While there is no cure for Alzheimer's, some activities may help make the people living with the condition more alert and engaged. Puzzles and games that require people to think and focus can help hold their attention. This can help spark memories or keep them more present in conversations with their loved ones. Doing activities with people who have Alzheimer's will also help them feel connected with you, which can improve their moods. 

As AARP reports, these kind of actions will not stop memory loss from occurring, but it can greatly improve the quality of life for people who have it. Especially in middle and early stages, though your loved one may not be able to remember everything, they will be able to recall some things. Use programs like those found in the Memory Minder Kits to help you stay connected to your loved one, so when they do remember, they're recalling fond moments they get to share with you. 

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