A diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment of Alzheimer’s is a call to action to pay attention and take the necessary care of legal, financial and future housing considerations but it should also spur one to preserve family stories and memories while your loved one can still remember and relate them.
Older memories have a tendency to be held on and remembered the longest and usually in the early stages of memory loss, a person still will have cognitive and verbal abilities to share their memories. Your loved one can also welcome to chance to reminisce old memories and leave behind a legacy of their own – their accomplishments, their values and their story. This can also prove to be therapeutic, storytelling therapy and reminiscence therapy are methods that are used to stir positive emotions and encourage conversation in people affected with Alzheimer’s. Here are some ideas to help you out:
1- Initiate a preservation project
You probably have shoeboxes full of old Polaroids and photos but never found the time to organize them. Treating it as a project and tackling them with your loved one can be a pleasant way to spend time together and it also gives you the chance to learn about your family history that you didn’t already know about. You could also get the images digitized along with notes from your conversation with your loved one.
What you have to bear in mind is not make it a forced project which will end being tiring and stressful. Avoid quizzing your loved one to much too because you could leave them upset and frustrated about not coming with the right answers.
2- Make a trip to together
If your loved one is physically able to travel, you could visit their hometown or a place that holds dear memories for them. This will unleash wonderful and even never heard of stories and memories.
Make a video as your tour and ask offbeat, conversational questions as you visit special places. The camera or talking about history can sometimes turn your loved one off but usually, when traveling and experiencing, people are better able to relax.
3- Look at keepsakes and mementos
Memories are not only to be found in pictures. Most people keep old keepsakes and artifacts in attics, closets or chests. Dig them out and start a conversation about them. Physical objects like trophies, uniforms, etc can spark many gratifying conversations.
You could take snapshots of these old mementoes and then assemble them into an album. Get your loved one to tell you a bit about each object and you can jot notes about them.
4- Make a memory book
Another project you can take up with your loved one is to create a memory book where you can organize photos and other memorabilia into a scrapbook or ‘life book’. Make sure you highlight the people, places and events that have been important to your loved one. A life book is a great way for those who don’t know your loved one to get to know them and see their whole life mapped out.