What to Do If You Are Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

October 7, 2019

If you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you might be overwhelmed. These tips can help you figure out what to do next.

After Alzheimer's diagnosis

Hearing the news that the forgetfulness you’ve been struggling with is Alzheimer’s disease is tough to comprehend. It’s common to worry about your future, and how your new diagnosis will impact the people you love. If this is the situation you find yourself in, we have a few suggestions we hope will help you cope.

Preparing for Life with Alzheimer’s Disease

1. Give yourself time to process the news

If you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s easy to assume that living a quality life isn’t possible. Seniors who hear this news often think they’ll need to immediately move to a memory care community. Unless your physician has made that recommendation, give yourself and your loved ones time to come to terms with this diagnosis.

Talk to a counselor or join a support group for adults living with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association in your area can connect you with both of these resources. It will likely benefit your family members if they join an in-person or online support group, too. ALZConnected has information and forums for both the senior who has the disease and the family members who love them.

2. Adopt a healthy lifestyle

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, research shows lifestyle choices may slow the progression of the disease. A healthy diet, exercise, and sleep are vital.

The Mediterranean Diet is one that is often recommended. It is based on menus that are heavy in fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and whole grains, and light on dairy and red meat. Researchers believe the heart-healthy benefits of this diet help to protect the brain.

It may also be beneficial to find fitness activities that lower stress. Swimming, biking, walking, and chair yoga are a few to try.

3. Talk with an attorney

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to meet with an attorney and discuss what legal documents you’ll need to have in place. A legal professional can help to determine what you need, such as a will, a power of attorney, or a trust. These documents will ensure that your voice is heard when it comes time for family members to make decisions on your behalf.

An elder law attorney might be especially helpful. You can find one by searching the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys database.

4. Get to know local dementia care options

It will probably give you and your family members peace of mind to know there are a wide range of Alzheimer’s care options. From home care agencies that provide assistance with grocery shopping, menu planning, personal care, and light housekeeping to dedicated memory care communities—the choices are abundant.

You might find it easier to have a trusted loved one explore these options with you or possibly on your behalf. It’s usually better to do this before you actually need to utilize any of these services.

Memory Care Services at Legacy Senior Living

At Legacy Senior Living, our nationally acclaimed memory care programs are known as The Harbor. We strive to make them a peaceful, secure refuge from the challenges associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. We encourage you or your loved ones to call the nearest community to learn more.

Coping with Repetitive Questions When a Senior Has Memory Loss

September 16, 2019

Repetitive behaviors, such as asking the same question over and over, are common when a senior has Alzheimer’s. The damage the disease causes to their short-term memory makes it tough for them to learn, retain, and recall new information. This means a senior may struggle to remember the answer to a question they have already asked, even if it was only moments ago.

While most Alzheimer’s caregivers understand their loved one can’t help this behavior, it’s nonetheless stressful and frustrating. Finding ways to manage it is important.

Repetitive Questions from Alzheimer's Patients

4 Ways for Alzheimer’s Caregivers to Manage Repetitive Questions

  1. Identify potential triggers.

In some cases, there is a reason a loved one with Alzheimer’s is repeatedly asking the same question. Trying to figure out what is triggering the question can help you find a way to address it. It may be something in their environment that is the culprit.

For example, a photo of a grandchild might be causing the senior to wonder where they are. Even though you answer that they are away at work or college, the older adult can’t retain that information. It may be easier to remove the photo from the room until the senior moves on to engage in a different activity and forgets about the question and photo.

1. Redirecting their attention.

Family caregivers also say redirecting their loved one’s attention can help to reduce repetitive questions. This involves giving a senior with Alzheimer’s something new to focus on. The goal is to distract them from whatever it is that they are preoccupied with.

For example, if a loved one with Alzheimer’s is repeating the same question, answer it and then quickly redirect their attention to something new. A chore or task like folding clothes or helping dry dishes might help them to refocus.

2. Provide opportunities for meaningful activity.

In some instances, repetitive questions are the result of an older adult being bored, anxious, or agitated. Repetition is their way of alleviating that discomfort. By providing the seniors with meaningful activities, a caregiver may be able to help them find peace.

Here are several meaningful activities that an adult with Alzheimer’s can do:

  • Look through family photo albums
  • Fold a basket full of clean towels
  • Sort of a deck of playing cards by color or number
  • Dust non-breakable objects around the home
  • Arrange flowers in a plastic vase

3. Take caregiving breaks.

Caregiving for an adult with Alzheimer’s is mentally and physically exhausting. It’s vital that you take frequent breaks so you can continue to provide good care. If you don’t have another friend or family member available to assist with caregiving duties, respite care might be a solution.

Short-term respite care at an assisted living community is designed to give caregivers a break. The older adult can stay in the community for a few days or weeks while the caregiver has time to restore their sense of well-being.

Memory Care at Legacy Senior Living

The around-the-clock demands associated with keeping a senior with Alzheimer’s safe can take a toll on a caregiver’s health. Despite your best efforts, the day might come when managing a loved one’s care at home is too much. That’s where a quality memory care program, like those at Legacy Senior Living communities, can be an ideal solution. Call us today at 423-478-8071 to learn more!

Understand and Manage Agitation in a Senior with Alzheimer’s

August 26, 2019

It is common among seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. Use these suggestions to help manage agitation.

One of the most common challenges family caregivers face when a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease is managing agitation. The behavior can negatively impact their quality of life as well as that of the family. It is often cited as a reason why families begin to explore memory care communities for their loved one.

In order to prevent agitation, or take steps to minimize it, Dementia care experts say caregivers must first understand the possible causes.

Potential Triggers of Agitation in a Senior with Alzheimer’s

  1. Disease-related changes in the brain

Alzheimer’s disease and similar forms of dementia can cause damage to the frontal lobe of the brain. This is the area that controls functions such as motivation, planning, self-control, and sequencing. When this area of the brain is damaged, it can be difficult for people to manage their reactions and understand consequences. The senior probably doesn’t realize their behavior is aggressive and intimidating.

  1. Undiagnosed pain or discomfort

A person with Alzheimer’s disease often loses their verbal communication skills. This makes it difficult for them to express their feelings or explain that they are in pain. As a result, when the older adult feels pain, fatigue, hunger, or sorrow, they may act out in frustration.

When your family member seems agitated or aggressive, try to identify the root cause. Ask if they are hungry, tired, or thirsty. Show them to the bathroom and see if they need to use it. It may also help to point to different areas of the body and ask them if it hurts.

  1. Overstimulation

Another outcome of the physical damage caused to the brain is difficulty processing too many things at one time. As a result, persons with Alzheimer’s can be easily overwhelmed. Noisy, hectic environments may be especially difficult to handle.

Because the adult may have difficulty managing multiple demands, they might become anxious, agitated, or aggressive. By controlling the environment, a caregiver may be able to help their loved one avoid becoming overstimulated.

  1. Confusion

Sometimes a person with Alzheimer’s disease will become anxious or agitated when they don’t understand what is happening around them. They may not understand why they need to get in the car or who the person in their home is. Irritability or agitation may be the result.

Family members may be successful in reducing some of this confusion by explaining who people are, even if they are someone the senior has known for years, or why they are being asked to do something.

Understanding Sundowners Syndrome

Another cause of agitation is actually a combination of symptoms that appear as the sun begins to make its descent. Sundowners Syndrome, also known as Sundowning, causes anxiety, agitation, and aggression.

Although caregivers may not be able to prevent Sundowning entirely, here are suggestions on how to better manage it:

  • Having a structured daily routine
  • Limiting caffeine intake
  • Reducing stimulation in the home, especially late in the day
  • Pulling the blinds and turning on the lights as the sun starts to set
  • Playing soothing music during the hours sundowning typically occurs

Compassionate Memory Care

If you are struggling to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s at home, we can help. Our nationally recognized memory care program in some of our communities, known as The Harbor, is thoughtfully designed to meet the unique needs of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Contact Legacy Senior Living online to learn more!

How to Talk with Kids about Alzheimer’s Disease

July 15, 2019

Talk with Kids about Alzheimer's Disease

It can be tough to talk with kids about Alzheimer’s disease. If an elder in your family has been diagnosed with the disease, these five tips can help you discuss it with kids.

If a family elder has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you are probably grappling with a variety of unique challenges. The disease can present different struggles at every stage. One challenge that families often encounter early on is how to discuss the disease with young children and teens.

Alzheimer’s is a complex disease that can be difficult to explain and understand, especially for younger family members. We created this tip sheet to share a few age-appropriate ideas and resources to make it easier to have this discussion with kids.

5 Tips to Help You Talk with Kids about Alzheimer’s Disease

Kids may have an especially difficult time understanding Alzheimer’s because of the unpredictability of the disease. For example, a grandparent may remember the grandchild’s name and who they are on one visit, but not the next.

These tips can help you explain Alzheimer’s disease to the kids in your family:

  1. Explain the medical condition: Begin by explaining that the family elder has developed an illness that makes it tough for them to remember things. Emphasize that the senior will have good days and bad days. On bad days, they may act a little different than usual and not be able to remember the children or teens’ names.
  2. No one is at fault: Be sure you take time to reassure children that they haven’t done anything wrong, especially on days when the senior is struggling most. Explain that the changes are all part of the illness.
  3. Not contagious: As the senior’s disease progresses and the children witness changes, it’s important for them to know that the disease isn’t contagious. They can’t catch it like they would a cold or the flu. Also, reassure them that you won’t catch it from caring for the senior either. That may help keep them from worrying that one of you will develop Alzheimer’s, too.
  4. Create an activities list: Before you sit down to talk with the children in your family about Alzheimer’s disease, take a few minutes to create a list of activities the kids and their family elder can still enjoy together. From crafts to art projects and music, people with Alzheimer’s can stay engaged with life.
  5. Learn from other kids: The Alzheimer’s Association developed several video series you can share with the children in your family to help them better understand the disease. Kids Look at Alzheimer’s and Teens Look at Alzheimer’s are especially meaningful because both are produced by kids for kids.

Legacy Senior Living

Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia can be difficult for families to safely manage at home. Wandering, agitation, and aggression are tough behaviors to cope with for those unfamiliar with disease management.

Families often discover that memory care programs are not only the safest solution for a senior, but one that allows a loved one to live their best quality of life. We invite you to call the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you to learn more about memory care options and to schedule a private tour today!

How Music Is Therapeutic for People with Dementia

June 24, 2019

How Music Is Therapeutic for People with Dementia

Learn how you can use music as therapy to improve the quality of life for a loved one with dementia

If you have ever listened to a song that sparked a happy memory from the past, you have witnessed firsthand the powerful impact that music can have on the brain. Researchers exploring the idea of music as therapy have found it to be a powerful tool. This is particularly true for those who are struggling with a health condition like Alzheimer’s disease.

Music, Memory, and Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, causes damage to the parts of the brain that are responsible for episodic memory. These are the memories related to specific life events.

Music, however, is learned and remembered differently. Instead of relying on episodic memory, music relies on an association of routines and repetitive activities. The brain stores them using procedural memory, which requires little mental processing.

Memories that are connected to music remain relatively untouched, even in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. That’s why music can act as a conduit to happy memories among people with various types of dementia.

3 Tips for Using Music As Therapy

Dr. Jonathon Graff-Radford of the Mayo Clinic says caregivers should consider using these three tips when using music therapy with a family member who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a similar type of dementia:

  1. Choose music familiar to your loved one

It might take a little trial and error to determine which musical artists and songs connect with your loved one. Be patient and keep trying.

  • Find music that was popular during your loved one’s youth or young adulthood. It can help evoke memories of happier times in their life.
  • Ask family and friends for suggestions, especially those who grew up with the senior.
  • Pay close attention to the way your loved one reacts to the music. Reminiscing can sometimes be painful, too. If a song appears to be causing your loved one distress, change the music and make note of it so you don’t play it again.
  1. Match desired outcome with the choice of music

Think about what you are trying to accomplish with your choice of music. For example, are you trying to calm a loved one’s agitation? That’s a fairly common struggle for adults with dementia, and one music can often help overcome.

  • Soothing music can promote a sense of calm during mealtimes, personal care times, and right before bedtime.
  • When you are trying to encourage a senior with Alzheimer’s to exercise or do something physical, turn on upbeat music. Just be observant to make sure it isn’t causing agitation.
  • If your loved one is feeling down, a sing-along might lift their spirits. Music from their high school or college days might be especially helpful.
  1. Avoid overstimulation

Make sure the music isn’t competing with other activities or noises in the house. For an adult with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, it can be difficult to process a hectic environment.

  • Turn off the television and close exterior doors and windows if it is noisy outside.
  • Monitor the volume of the music and take any hearing loss into consideration.
  • Select a music channel that is commercial-free or create your own play list.

These tips can help you use music’s healing harmonies to improve the quality of life for a loved one with dementia.

Creating Purposeful Days for Adults with Dementia

At Legacy Senior Living communities, we are dedicated to helping adults with dementia live with purpose. We invite you to join us for a personal tour to learn more. Call the community nearest you to schedule a time.

Agitation and Alzheimer’s: How Can Family Members Manage It?

May 20, 2019

Agitation is one of the most difficult behaviors for families to manage at home when a loved one has Alzheimer’s. These tips may help.

Caring for a senior loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease often presents unique challenges. From sleep deprivation to wandering, family caregivers find themselves having to manage complicated behaviors. A common one is agitation.

Older adults who have Alzheimer’s often experience increased agitation later in the day, as the sun begins to go down. This condition is known as sundowning or sundowner’s syndrome.

Agitation isn’t limited to late afternoons and evenings, however. It can occur other times of the day too. The key to helping your senior loved one find peace may lie in determining what could be triggering the behavior.

5 Causes of Agitation in an Adult with Alzheimer’s Disease

  1. Change in routine: Memory loss makes it tough for a person with Alzheimer’s disease to adapt to change. A variation in routine or environment can increase agitation. A structured, predictable schedule allows an adult with Alzheimer’s to feel more confident and in control. This often results in less agitation.
  2. Hectic environment: Because of the damage the disease does to the brain, people with Alzheimer’s are less able to multitask or process too many things at one time. When a senior with Alzheimer’s is in a hectic environment, it can lead to heightened agitation. For example, if the senior is at your home during a family gathering, the noisy background might be too much for them to handle. Crowded public places, like a restaurant or shopping mall, may also cause problems. Maintaining a calm, quiet environment is usually best.
  3. Overly fatigued: Sleep problems are common among seniors with Alzheimer’s. Family members often say it feels like their loved one can go days without sleeping. When a person with Alzheimer’s disease becomes extremely tired, it can lead to agitation. By finding a way to manage the senior’s sleep issues, you may be able help them to feel less agitated throughout the day.
  4. Excessive activity: Family caregivers lead busy lives. If you don’t have anyone to stay with your senior loved one while you run errands, you might need to take them with you. Doing too much in one day, however, can increase agitation. Consider dividing your stops over several days. Experts also suggest planning activities around your loved ones best and worst times of day. For many, morning is the best time. Afternoon activity might increase the risk for sundowning.
  5. Undiagnosed pain: Verbal communication skills often become impaired as Alzheimer’s disease progresses. This can make it tough for a caregiver to recognize when their loved one is in pain. Suffering with undiagnosed pain understandably increases agitation. If the senior you are caring for is unusually restless, look at their face for signs of pain and distress. You may be able point to different parts of the body and ask them if it hurts there to figure out what is going on. While this approach may not work for everyone, it might help narrow down the problem.

If you’ve explored each of these common triggers without success, it may be time to talk with a physician. They may have other options to pursue, such as reviewing the senior’s medication list for potential adverse reactions or side effects that cause agitation.

Dementia Care at Legacy Senior Living

If you are struggling to manage a loved one’s safety and well-being at home, we can help. Our award-winning memory care programs are designed to be a refuge from the storms caused by dementia. Call the Legacy Senior Living nearest you to learn more today!

How Memory Care Improves Quality of Life for Seniors with Dementia

April 15, 2019

improve quality of life

For adults with dementia, a memory care community helps improve quality of life. Here’s what adult children and family caregivers should know.

When a senior loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a similar form of dementia, families go to great lengths to keep them at home. Sometimes that means bringing professional caregivers into the senior’s home, and other times the solution might be moving them into an adult child’s home.

As the disease progresses, families can encounter unique challenges Many of these challenges are difficult to safely manage at home. These can include wandering, agitation, and aggression. Managing Alzheimer’s disease can lead to burnout and other serious health problems for the caregiver.

Moving to a memory care community might be a good solution for loved ones to consider.

Quality of Life and Memory Care Communities

A memory care program, such as The Harbor at Legacy Senior Living, offers the support a senior with dementia needs to feel productive and empowered. It also gives their loved ones the peace of mind that comes from knowing the older adult is safe.

A few ways memory care programs can help to improve the quality of life for people with dementia include:

  • Daily life enrichment activities: Life enrichment activities in a memory care program are designed to work with the senior’s remaining abilities and allow them to feel more productive. That’s important to an older adult who may be struggling with communication skills and memory loss.
  • Thoughtfully designed physical environments: Wandering is an unfortunate reality many families struggle to manage. Memory care programs offer secure environments designed to prevent wandering. They also use techniques such as visual cues, memory boxes, and open floor plans to make daily life easier for people with memory loss.
  • Dedicated dining programs: Poor nutrition is another concern for family caregivers when a loved one has dementia. It is common for people with dementia to develop swallowing problems that increase the risk for choking. Vision changes can make it hard for them to distinguish the food on their plate. Difficulty concentrating at mealtime also plays a role. In a memory care program, the staff works around each of these challenges to keep residents well nourished.
  • Specially-trained caregivers: Another benefit of memory care is the caregivers. Most have undergone additional training to help them learn how to support success in adults with dementia. From how to approach an adult with dementia to how to communicate with an adult who has lost their verbal skills, caregivers are trained to help residents live better lives.

Signs It’s Time to Consider a Memory Care Community

If you aren’t sure when it’s time to consider a memory care community, here are a few signs that your loved one might be ready:

  • Easily disoriented or lost in familiar places
  • Unable to participate in activities and events at home
  • Struggling with balance and mobility
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Vision changes that put them at risk for falls
  • Poor judgment with finances
  • Problems with continence care

It’s also important to include caregiver stress and fatigue on this list. Alzheimer’s caregivers have exhausting schedules. When the days begin to feel overwhelming, it is another sign it may be time to consider memory care for a senior loved one.

Visit The Harbor Memory Care

The best way to learn more about a memory care program is to visit in person. Staff members can answer all of your questions, take you on a tour, and introduce you to the staff. Contact a Legacy Senior Living community near you to schedule a tour today!

What is Parkinson’s Dementia?

March 25, 2019

What is Parkinson's Dementia

People are familiar with the common symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as tremors and speech problems. But most people with this disease also develop Parkinson’s dementia. Learn more here.

With symptoms ranging from rigid muscles to speech problems, Parkinson’s disease (PD) is classified as a neurodegenerative disease. It happens when the body doesn’t produce enough dopamine, the chemical required to allow for smooth movements. Another challenge for an adult with PD and their family caregivers is Parkinson’s dementia.

Researchers say that between 50 and 80 percent of people with PD will eventually develop Parkinson’s dementia. Similar to other forms of dementia, it can present unique safety challenges for the person with the disease and for their caregivers.

What Is Parkinson’s Dementia?

Parkinson’s disease dementia results from a buildup of protein deposits, known as Lewy bodies, in the brain of a person with PD. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease dementia are similar to other forms of dementia. They include:

  • Memory loss and forgetfulness
  • Sleep problems
  • Hallucinations and/or delusions
  • Difficulty carrying on a conversation
  • Loss of attention span
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Trouble managing finances
  • Irritable and quick to anger
  • Using words incorrectly
  • Poor judgment
  • Depression
  • Easily tearful and sad

How is Parkinson’s Disease Dementia Treated?

As is true with most forms of dementia, there is currently no cure. An older adult’s physician will usually create a care plan to manage each individual symptom of the disease.

For example, if a senior with PD dementia is experiencing sadness or clinical depression, they might be referred to a mental health professional for treatment. Or if the adult is having trouble with insomnia, a sleep disorder specialist might be consulted to help address it.

Senior Living to Assist Adults with PD

Because the average age of diagnosis for PD is 60, patients and their spouses are often leading active lives. The challenge of living with and caring for a person who has Parkinson’s disease dementia can be especially difficult.

Some families turn to an adult day program for daytime assistance. The adult with Parkinson’s dementia attends the center every day or a few times a week to socialize in a safe, supportive environment. This allows a spouse or adult child to continue to work.

Other families find an assisted living community to be a better solution. They may utilize the community’s short-term respite care services when the family caregiver needs a break or wants to enjoy a vacation. As their loved one’s needs increase, they might move to the community on a long-term basis. Because they’ve already built a relationship with the staff, the transition is a little easier to make.

If you are caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s dementia and you live in the southeast, we invite you to schedule an appointment at one of the Legacy Senior Living communities. We’ll be happy to answer your questions about respite care, assisted living, and memory care for adults with dementia. Call us today at (423) 478-8071 to set up a time!

Wandering Safety Technology for a Senior with Alzheimer’s

February 18, 2019

Wandering Safety Technology for People with Alzheimer’s Disease

If a senior you care for has Alzheimer’s disease, wandering safety technology, like a GPS tracking device, can help keep them becoming lost.

If you are the caregiver for an older adult who has Alzheimer’s, you know firsthand how difficult the disease can be to manage. Keeping an adult with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia safe, can result in long, stressful days for family members. It’s a situation an estimated 16.1 million people find themselves in.

One of the most difficult challenges of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s is managing wandering. This is an important issue to learn more about because 6 in 10 people with the disease will wander. If an adult wanders once, it increases the risk they will do so again.

Fortunately, there are technology solutions that can help. Most of these rely on various forms of GPS tracking.

Wandering Safety Technology for People with Alzheimer’s Disease

The statistics on wandering demonstrate how vital the first 24 hours are for the safe return of a person with Alzheimer’s disease. If a senior is missing longer than 24 hours, the odds of a safe return begin to decline significantly.

A GPS tracking device gives caregivers peace of mind. Should their senior loved one wander, they can be located more quickly. A few devices to investigate include:

  • AngelSense: This GPS cell phone system allows caregivers to receive updates on their loved one’s location every ten seconds. It can also alert caregivers if the senior wanders in to an unfamiliar area. AngelSense has two-way voice technology to allow the older adult and their family member to talk back and forth.
  • GPS SmartSole: A wearable but discrete technology, this GPS tracking option is an insert that is placed in the senior’s shoe. It logs and tracks the older adult’s location using cellular technology. This allows the caregiver to quickly locate their loved one in the event of an emergency.
  • PocketFinder: Another discrete device, this one is small enough to be placed in the senior’s pocket. It is a personal GPS that allows you to track an older adult’s location in real time. That’s important when a senior has dementia and might not be able to speak for themselves to ask for help.

Memory Care for Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease

Sometimes the needs of a senior with Alzheimer’s disease are too much for families to safely manage at home. When that happens, a memory care community can be an ideal solution. These secure programs are designed to keep residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia safe, including from wandering away.

They are also designed to allow residents to live their best quality of life despite their disease. From dedicated dining programs that promote good nutrition to life enrichment programs that keep residents engaged, memory care communities empower residents while giving loved ones peace of mind.

At Legacy Senior Living, we call our memory care services The Harbor. With a homelike setting and attentive staff, residents are expertly cared for each day. If you are searching for a memory care community to support a senior in your life, we encourage you to call the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you today to schedule a private tour.

What is Reminiscence Therapy for Adults with Alzheimer’s?

January 21, 2019

reminiscence therapy for adults with Alzheimer’s

If a senior you love has Alzheimer’s disease, reminiscence therapy can help them reconnect with happy memories.

When a senior loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, family members may struggle to find ways to help them feel engaged and connected to the world around them. Short-term memory is often affected early in the disease process, leaving the senior feeling isolated and alone. That’s where programs like Reminiscence Therapy can help.

Reminiscence Therapy (RT) is based on the idea that recalling happy memories helps families to bond and allows a senior to relive positive experiences from the past.

It works because it doesn’t rely on the individual’s impaired short-term memory. The practice of reminiscence utilizes long-term memory that might still be intact. Researchers believe this therapy can help reduce anxiety and depression among adults with dementia.

We have a few ideas to help you utilize Reminiscence Therapy at home.

Utilizing Reminiscence Therapy with a Senior Loved One

  • Ask long-time friends and family members to share copies of old photographs. Explain that your goal is to help your loved one reconnect with photos that will elicit happy memories.
  • Think about what other items may trigger positive memories. Was your loved one a teacher? Put together a box of supplies they may have used for teaching, such as a ruler, a small chalkboard, and an assignment journal.
  • Music is another avenue for connecting with the past. Create a play list of your family member’s favorite music from their youth. Talk about the artists who sang each song and the memories they recall when listening.
  • Like music, old movies are another way to reminisce. Find DVDs of some old classics that you can watch together. It might be fun to include younger members of the family too!
  • Aromatherapy doesn’t always have to be a fancy diffuser and essential oils. Baking can also trigger recollections of happy times. For example, the smell of an apple pie or pecan rolls in the oven may help a senior remember pleasant memories with a parent or grandparent.

Memory Care at Legacy Senior Living

At Legacy Senior Living communities, we’ve earned a reputation for excellence in caring for adults with Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia. In our memory care communities, called The Harbor, we are committed to helping each resident live their best quality of life.

From a home-like setting to thoughtfully planned meals, we invite you to schedule a personal tour to learn more. Call the Legacy community nearest you to set up a time today!