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Scrapbooks and shadow boxes are excellent tools for triggering positive memories and facilitating engagement. To create them, gather pictures and items your loved one cherishes. Subjects may include:
Include descriptive captions to help jog your loved one’s memory. Make sure the captions are simple and written in large, easy-to-read type. The best pictures and items to include are those that were relevant before your loved one’s memory began to decline. For those with memory loss, mementos like these are the easiest to recognize. Know that these memories are a healthy source of pride. You can encourage this feeling through the simple act of sitting with your loved one and asking about the various images and items.
Both anecdotal evidence and scientific research make it clear: Music plays an important role in memory care. At Sunrise, music therapy and appreciation are a strong component of the memory care program.
Some of the best memory care approaches tap into the retained abilities of someone with memory loss, focusing on their strengths rather than their losses. Music can also be a bridge that helps caregivers reach a loved one who is no longer able to communicate with words.
Music with a tempo that matches the pace of the exercise helps raise energy levels and makes repetitive exercises more enjoyable. Also, singing can increase the flow of oxygen in the body, which improves alertness, motor control and coordination.
Most people agree: Music affects mood, and may even reduce pain. Research indicates that music can help ease the symptoms of depression by up to 25% and reduce pain by up to 21%.
Certain aspects of caregiving—like assisting your loved one with personal care, especially in the bathroom—can be particularly challenging. Incorporating favorite songs or pieces of music can make the tasks more enjoyable for both the caregiver and person with memory loss.