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Activities For People With Dementia
It is universally recognized that
elderly people with dementia lose their short term
memory first and their long term memory last. For
example, they often remember people and events from
their earlier years, but have difficulty remembering
what they ate for breakfast the day before.
A while back, a family member asked me "what do you do
with someone who can no longer carry on a normal
conversation?" The short answer is "Relax and have fun."
The long answer would require writing a whole book. A
short summary of some activities include the following:
Reminisce! Everything you do together lends itself to
reminiscing. If the person can still speak fairly well,
say, “Tell me about...” If his vocabulary is more
limited, you may have to facilitate the story. “Do you
remember when...” As you bake cookies together you can
talk about residents' favorite cookies, meals, etc.
Read aloud and use visual aids such as memory poems,
family pictures, or stories about "the days gone by"
stimulate reminiscences. Ideas include Chicken Soup for
the Soul series and Yesterdays by NaDezan, and other
Make music. Sing, hum, whistle, dance. Singing brings
oxygen to the brain to help you think more clearly.
Dancing exercises other parts of the body. Both increase
your own sense of well-being as well as the well-being
of the residents! Have music activities and entertainers
visit. Choose the residents' favorite cassettes.