Top Three Memory Aids for Loved Ones with Dementia

Top Three Memory Aids for Loved Ones with Dementia

July 15, 2023 | Health

Top 3 Memory Aids for Loved Ones with Dementia

Memory aids play a meaningful role in supporting older adults with dementia. They can enhance the overall quality of daily life and give them a sense of independence. With the proper practice and a little creativity, our loved ones can find comfort after diagnosis.

There are many tools to make a diagnosis more manageable. Read below about three effective memory aids.

Brain games

Fun, stimulating activities help with memory skills. They exercise the mind and promote social interaction. By no means does the game of choice have to be complex. If anything, the simpler, the better. Choose easy puzzles and games to avoid overwhelming a loved one.

Matching games are a great way to start. Have your loved one flip through cards with images until they find a matching pair. You can go the extra mile by making your own cards with photos of family or familiar objects on them. This activity benefits memory recall and better concentration.

Bingo is another memory game that improves socialization. It is so important for residents with dementia to feel connected and bond with others. This enjoyable game can also be customized with large-print bingo cards, clear numbers, or symbols. Try to set up a calm environment to play to avoid commotion that may have your loved one feeling overstimulated.

It’s normal for people with dementia to have trouble with their motor skills. With magnetic puzzles, loved ones can still engage in a fun, stimulating activity. The magnetic pieces attach right to the board, eliminating frustration. Familiarity can’t be stressed enough – look for puzzles featuring familiar objects or scenes.

Digital games and apps have been created specifically to engage older adults with dementia. Puzzles and memory games can be found on smartphones, tablets, and computers, which can be more accessible for some. If there is one thing the digital age has taught us, having something right at your fingertips is convenient. Look out for user-friendly apps.

The rhythm of a routine

Including memory aids in a daily routine is essential. Continuously sticking to a routine makes it easier for people with dementia to grasp daily activities and reduces confusion. Remember that a routine must meet individual abilities and preferences. Start with what is most manageable. 

Keep your loved one on the same daily schedule. Though every day is different, some more challenging than others, going through similar, if not the same, motions is the best way to find comfort. Try making a visual schedule. Use pictures, symbols, and colors to create a chart representing activities like waking up, having a meal, taking medication, going for a walk, and so on. Though it is best to repeat the same steps, still include fun and creativity to better their experience.

Setting reminders, such as notes or alarms, prompts to remember a task. You can put notes on mirrors, doors, and other items or locations that are easily visible. Remember that dementia can challenge sensory changes. If you choose to write notes, keep them at a minimum. Any alarms should have a calming, peaceful sound that can be easily turned off. It’s important for them to feel comfortable in their living space and avoid the feeling of lack of control.   

It may be necessary to simplify tasks and instructions. Use familiar objects such as images or personal belongings. Communication is essential as you and a loved one work through the steps together. Feel free to ask for help. Staff and both on and offsite health providers are always happy to offer support.

Create a memory box

Staying close to friends and family is a priority for loved ones with dementia. Having a memory box and filling it with keepsakes is a memory-building and sensory activity that reflects on life stories.

Creating and exploring a memory box is also a way to bond. Being surrounded by family and friends shows that they are acknowledged and appreciated. By no means does it have to be something elaborate. Start with an old jewelry box, plastic container, or shoebox.

Photographs are commonly included. Seeing familiar faces can keep a loved one’s memory fresh or jog it if needed. Other types of memorabilia, such as letters, souvenirs, and CDs, can be added.

The Pathways at Warrington always encourages residents to learn and strengthen their cognitive abilities in a comforting environment. Visit the Pathways website to learn more about how we lend a helping hand.

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