If your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, you might want to try to capture and safeguard their memories before those moments are lost forever. There are also things you can do to help trigger happy memories for your relative.
A California estate planning attorney can advise you on how to protect the estate and legal rights of your loved one. Here are a few suggestions of techniques you can use when helping loved ones with Alzheimer’s preserve their memories:
Record Your Relative Talking About the Past
Generations to come will treasure hearing stories told in your loved one’s own voice. You might ask him or her to let you record them talking about events from the past. Oral histories can provide a wealth of information that someone else telling the story cannot provide. You might consider making a video recording as well as audio to preserve your relative’s image and well as voice.
Although you might feel a sense of urgency to capture as much information as possible while your relative can still participate in the process, pushing your loved one too hard could backfire. Set a timer to limit the length of the recording sessions. Take frequent breaks. Stop the session if your relative appears to be tired or gets irritable before the timer rings. Patience is the key to successfully recording an oral history.
Collect Treasured Items for a Memory Box
Souvenirs, trinkets and other objects with sentimental significance can help a person with dementia grasp memories from events. Gather items from many different events from multiple eras of the person’s life. Heirlooms can also help the individual remember the person who originally owned the object. Place the items in the loved one’s hands so that the tactile sensation can magnify the impact of the objects. Talk about the items and the events associated with them.
After you make the memory box, do not merely place it on a shelf. The Mayo Clinic suggests that you pull out the memory box frequently and talk with your loved one about the moments from the past. Doing so helps with memory and reminds the person of the many things he has accomplished in his lifetime.
Convert Family Photos and Videos
Old photos and videos can fade and deteriorate. If possible, you might want to have them copied and converted to a current format that your relative will find more accessible. Make it easy for your loved one to enjoy the photos and videos. For example, uploading many digital photos into a frame that will scroll through them with the tap on the frame can make it easy for him to view pictures without having to fumble through photo albums.
Play Music That is Meaningful to Your Loved One
Make a list of your loved one’s favorites songs or genres of music, then create a mix of those tunes. Music is a powerful tool to reach deep into the brain and activate memories. Whether sacred music, show tunes, Frank Sinatra, or something else, you can bring great joy to your loved one with carefully curated music.
Use Aromas and Textures to Trigger Memories
Sensory stimulation can reach a person with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia and help them remember things from the recent or distant past. Scents like a favorite perfume or aftershave can trigger memories. Holding a cherished item can reduce the person’s anxiety or depression. Using their hands to make simple projects can provide tactile stimulation to the brain. A California estate planning attorney can help you create an estate plan that will let you choose who will take care of you and your assets if you become vulnerable because of Alzheimer’s or some other illness or injury. An estate plan can also let you decide who will inherit from you one day. Contact us today.