by Linda Lindsey Davis, RN, PhD
Use the list above to help your elder
develop their own pleasurable activities that she or he
can enjoy alone such as listening to music, taking a
favorite walk or a watching familiar TV programs.
The following five strategies are recommended for family
caregivers who want to improve mood in a elder:
Plan and organize additional pleasant activities that
the elder and other family members can enjoy together
regularly. This might include weekly family dinners and
short shopping trips.
Use memory aids to encourage the elder to recall past
pleasant events. For example, help him or her to
organize photo albums of family pictures. Put together a
memory book of photos of family members, vacation trips
or other pleasant events for the elder’s purse or
wallet. Encourage family members to sit with the elder
regularly and review the happy experiences represented
in the memory book. Add new photos to the book
Utilize reminders to help the elder anticipate upcoming
pleasant events. For example, use a large refrigerator
calendar to list the schedule of daily events for the
next week (e.g., family viewing of favorite TV shows, a
plan for a walk or trip to the store, anticipated visits
from children and grandchildren). Refer the elder to the
schedule frequently so he/she can anticipate upcoming
pleasant events each day.
Set realistic goals for mood management. Encourage the
elder to assume some planning responsibility but do only
those activities that can be accomplished without
causing you and the elder stress or frustration.
Finally, become an expert on the elder’s thinking style.
Listen and look for signs of blue mood thinking. Observe
the elder’s behavior in stressful situations and try to
avoid or reduce the occurrence of situations that cause
blue mood thinking.