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Crystal Yost, BA, PAC certified, Program Director at Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr in Bryn Mawr, Pa., says, “Although loved ones with Alzheimer’s diseases and other forms of dementia may lose the ability to understand what they are celebrating, celebrations should remain a central part of their life.
“In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association encourages caregivers and their families to celebrate life’s special moments with their loved ones every day. Celebrations have been found to be an important form of social interaction, which can lower your loved one’s stress, help to reduce symptoms of depression and provide them with moments of pleasure.”
Crystal adds, “Life provides us with many reasons to celebrate: a holiday, a graduation, a marriage, the birth of a baby, a job promotion and special anniversaries. It is important to involve your loved one with memory loss in these events whenever possible.
“However, what is even more important is to find joy in your loved one’s small daily successes. These things are worth celebrating, as well. So celebrate life with your loved one, everywhere you find it.
“Additionally, keeping your loved one engaged in activities they find interesting and meaningful is vital to their self esteem, sense of purpose and overall well-being. Such activities can provide them with a means of personal expression and a way to stay connected with the word around them.
“Here at Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr, social engagement activities based on our resident’s personal interests are an essential part of daily life. Whether it is listening to favorite music from their younger days, viewing classic movies that recall fond memories or spending time with a friendly pet, Life Enrichment therapies afford many physical and emotional benefits.”
Experts at the Mayo Clinic advise that loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease can lose the ability to begin an activity or find interesting things to do without assistance. As a caregiver, you can play a key role here by making a list of your loved one’s primary interests and planning activities that are most enjoyable to them.
In the article, “Bringing Dementia Patients to Life” Richard Gunderman, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Radiology at Indiana University, says, "We should dwell less on what dementia patients are incapable of and focus more on celebrating what they are capable of doing."
According to Dr. Gunderman, dementia can affect a person’s emotions and personality as well as memory. He asserts that care needs and activities should be tailored to each person’s personality, life history and stage of the disease.
“When this is done well,” he says, “new possibilities open up. What might have been an atmosphere of regret and hopelessness centered on the disease’s relentless progress can be transformed into an upbeat outlook that celebrates abilities, rejoices in moments of recognition and looks to the future with hope.”
Based on the advice above, try to tailor your loved one’s daily experiences. For example:
Ms. Yost says, “Be a daily source of encouragement for your loved one. Praise them for what they are still able to do. Celebrate their daily accomplishments and keep them engaged in life for as long as they are able. You’ll be giving them pleasurable moments that will be worth celebrating for both of you.”
If you have comments about questions on our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences in our comments section.
Loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments require specialized care and support. They also deserve a lifestyle rich in dignity and fulfillment. Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr provides residents with Engaging Days and Meaningful Moments that emphasize individual abilities, encourage socialization and promote the highest level of independence possible. We offer a complete continuum of leading-edge programs, services and amenities that address the total physical, emotional and social needs of residents in a caring setting that offers individual suites with large private baths and the comforts of home. Our community touches hearts and changes lives.
Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other forms of memory impairment don’t only affect the person who has it – it affects the entire family.
If you have a loved one with early- to mid-stage memory loss, you know how challenging it can be to provide the care that’s needed while trying to maintain balance in your life. As care needs increase, you may not be able to meet them physically or emotionally. It’s often difficult to be available to care for your loved one’s health and well-being around the clock.
If and when the time comes to seek additional help, place your trust in Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr. We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again. For more information, please call Sharon at (484) 380-5404,or contact us online.
Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Impressions Memory Care and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.