Dealing with Dementia: Thanks for the Memories

Caregivers are often searching for creative ways to connect with their loved ones that have Alzheimer’s.  Tandridge Heights, a senior care center, incorporates a ‘Memory Lane’ unit, a place full of vintage pieces including old handbags, a typewriter, posters of famous actors and actresses including Marilyn Monroe and Marlon Brando and collages of photographs of the residents.  Staff invites people with Alzheimer’s to speak about their past through ‘reminiscence sessions.’  The staff also focuses on creative ways of speaking to residents and insights into understanding their behavior.  Penny Garner, creator of Specialised Early Care for Alzheimer’s (SPECAL) focuses on the positive emotions associated with past experiences.  Garner explains an example where a woman who moved 25 times during her marriage constantly opened and emptied drawers and cupboards creating a chaotic environment.  Once provided with a trunk, she would neatly pack and unpack the trunk.  As her disease progressed she began using a handbag to pack and unpack, which turned into the folding and unfolding of a handkerchief.    
The Independent, February 16, 2010

Written By: Markie Robson-Scott

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