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Time Travel for Individuals Living with Dementia; not a bad idea

Posted Jun 17th, 2015 in News, Long-Term Care, Retirement, Tips, Dementia

Time Travel for Individuals Living with Dementia; not a bad idea

So I did a search about time travel, and came across a woman who allegedly has built a time machine in her garage, and is looking for a travel companion.  She reports to have sent mice through time, but cannot locate them.  (I suspect there is a hole in her equipment.)


I like to think of time travel as reminiscence therapy for individuals living with dementia.  Imagine when short-term memory becomes more difficult; having the ability to express, and record long-term memories.

When visiting individuals living with dementia, I strongly encourage them to write their memoirs.  I find this is not only therapeutic for the individual, but provides a wonderful family legacy.  The other amazing gift that story telling offers, is a reference for the future.  When individuals living with dementia may have lost their memories relating to events in the distant past, there is a record.  Their storybook allows non-family caregivers an opportunity to see the individual in a new, and different light.

When assisting someone with a memory book (or time travel) some of the following thoughts may be helpful:

·      Collect pictures, and record events, names, and other associated information as dictated, or that may prompt memories

·      If the individual living with dementia cannot manage this project alone, or would like assistance, become the record keeper

·      Think of questions to prompt discussion, or access templates from local Alzheimer Societies, or legacy groups

·      Work on the project in short bursts to avoid fatigue

·      Make this a celebration of life; listen, and ask questions about experiences

·      Do not correct, or alter the story as it is told, as the recollection is the writer’s own version of history.  (At times details of the past can become altered, when an individual is living with dementia)

·      Create a finished product: whether it be a scrap book, computer generated story book, or whatever is manageable, and make copies

·      As memories fade or change, use this book as a form of social interaction, story telling, and a foundation for a visit, if words are lost

·      Share the individual’s story with other caregivers, allowing them insight into the person within their care

Creating a legacy is a wonderful gift for any individual, as it is symbolic of their life’s value, memories, and history.  Think of it as travelling in a time machine, opening the doors to a world from the past. Imagine how empowering it must be, to finally be the center of conversation where others are listening to you, rather than discussing you.

As for the newspaper advertisement for a time travelling companion, I think I will pass, until she gets the bugs… er the mice out.  In the meantime, this photo is the result of my efforts to travel back in time, independently.

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