PRESERVING INDEPENDENCE IN THE CASE OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE: REMINISCENCE
Many older people like to think back over their lives and this can give
great pleasure. One of the assets that a dementia sufferer usually has are
his or her early memories. This ability is sometimes used therapeutically in
day hospital and elsewhere, for example encouraging people with dementia to
draw pictures of their past, use photographs and other visual material to
make a collage, or write notes if this is still possible. A folder of
relevant material or a box of objects relating to the past can be used many
times in an attempt to bring out happy memories. Old photographs of family,
friends, holidays, weddings, and so on are also helpful. Records, or
somebody playing music from the past on the piano, will often evoke memories
that may stimulate conversation.
An alternative approach is to use stimuli, such as pictures or music, as part of a simple game. Often the questions can be made up as one goes along and a single object can be used repeatedly as the basis for different questions.