What is one of your favorite childhood memories? One of mine is playing in forts we built in the fence rows along our gravel road by our farm. We had forts on the ground and in the trees and would bike to them and spend hours playing. This question kicked off the presentation by the speaker Jolene Brackey at the St Paul Senior Workers conference in early April. Jolene is an author and trainer and entertaining speaker that has a lot of experience with creating moments of joy with those with dementia.
Some tips I learned from her talk:
- Understand what time period your loved one is in with her disease? If twenties, focus on things she loved at that time, if childhood, bring out things she loved during those days. Be a detective and share what you learn with those that interact with your loved one.
- Be creative. If a favorite time was a cocktail after work, use some apple juice or other juice to create that joy. IF going fishing, check out from the library a fishing video.
- For those repetitive questions? Where is Joe (husband) for example. Telling a white lie is going to make her feel relaxed…if it is believable.
- Saying no to things that you would say no to your children, like the third bowl of ice cream, might not be in your loved one’s best interest. If they want three bowls of ice cream what real harm is there. Rethink what you say no to or what you are correcting.
Jolene has a new fifth edition just published available on Amazon called Creating Moments of Joy. This is a wonderful book for family members of those affected with memory loss.