Why Capturing Memories for Someone who has Alzheimer’s is Important?

Preserving and capturing memories for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease or additional dementias may occur in numerous ways. It may involve spreading photographs out on a coffee table, turning on a favorite 1940s big band hit, intentionally making a list of questions to ask, and sitting inside the living room together to record the thoughts your family member shares. Or, reminiscing may happen more spontaneously within a family gathering—be certain you have a video camera or notepad available!


To accommodate your loved one’s level of cognitive ability and make sharing memories within any situation a meaningful, positive experience, keep these considerations in mind:


Involve other loved one; Do not put the individual who has Alzheimer’s on the spot.


Someone who has suffered some cognitive decline might feel humiliated when she or he gets confused and cannot recall a critical detail, particularly in front of a group of people. If the entire family is reminiscing together and telling stories, do not single out the individual who has dementia by asking a detail-oriented question such as ”Daddy, do you recall what you said to Momma on that camping trip when she backed our car into that tree?” Instead, ask an open-ended, broader question such as “Daddy, do you have a favorite memory about those camping trips we went on?” in order to encourage sharing without having to quiz.


Look at photos together; Do not expect the individual to recognize everything.


Instead of pointing to a photo and asking, “Who is this?” it’s possible to offer your own commentary: “This looks like Grandmother when she was younger” or “That photo must’ve been taken at your wedding. Just look at all those silly hats.” If you come across specific pictures which spark vivid memories for your loved one who has dementia, set these aside and keep them available to revisit frequently.


Activities that preserve and capture memories with your loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease or additional dementias should concentrate on what that individual wants to and can recall. It’s possible to help to minimize irritation by paying close attention to your family member’s limitations and adapting chances for reminiscing accordingly.


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