If your parent is suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer's disease and has moved into an assisted living facility, you may wonder if there is anything you can do to help stimulate their memory to possibly help them retain it longer. If so, use one or both of the following activities.
Use Pictures For A Card Matching Game
Make a personalized card matching game to help your parent not only remember location of the pictures, helping their short-term memory, but also the events in the pictures, accessing their long-term memory. For this activity, you will need an assortment of family pictures, a scanner, card stock and a printer.
Scan each photograph into your computer, and print out two copies on card stock. Cut them out, then shuffle them like a deck. Place them face down on a flat surface in front of your loved one, and have them turn two over. If they match, talk about the people or places in the pictures before setting them aside.
If they don't match, have your parent continue to turn up two cards at a time, encouraging them to remember the location of each card. Let them take their time, and if the conversation turns to additional memories of the past, let your parent continue speaking and add in any details that you may recall as well.
Make A Memory Board
A memory board is made by placing pictures on a piece of cardboard. Then, either on the back of the photograph or on a separate note that is attached and turned upside down, details of the picture are written.
When using the memory board, point to each picture, and ask your parent what they remember about it. Give them time to think about who is in the picture, as well as the events surrounding it. If they are wrong, gently point out the people, or start talking about what you remember. Sometimes, sharing your memories can help spark their own, helping them exercise their long-term memory recall.
Using either one or both of the above memory exercises at least several times a week could help your loved one keep their memories for as long as possible. If you have questions about other activities you can do with your parent, you may want to speak with their doctor or an assisted living faculty like All Care Hawaii to find out if they have any additional advice.