The power of life stories in memory care presents a unique opportunity to help patients with Alzheimer’s Disease focus on memories. Many people don’t realize that as they age, memories and the brain’s connections with them decrease significantly. As we age, we often lose our memories of pleasant events that happened in our childhood or even early adolescence. In some cases, people forget to even remember important and personally meaningful events in their lives, and may even experience periods of amnesia as they age.
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disorder that destroys the brain’s ability to form and preserve long-term memories. As a result, you may find yourself having trouble remembering recent happenings in your life or even having trouble performing daily activities. It is impossible to function properly without a mental database filled with accurate, detailed memories. As you age, the more chances you have to develop these memories, but the more it takes you to actually “remember” them. If you want to continue to live a full and enjoyable life, you need to learn how to activate your brain’s memory bank and begin forming and preserving memories today.
Many people with Alzheimer’s Disease struggle to understand the basic nature of their condition, so they often have difficulty understanding how stories can help them. One of the most fundamental principles of memory care is that stories are powerful medicine. Although the idea may seem silly, it is a fact. Stories increase your memories’ shelf life by literally re-experiencing the information you’ve previously stored. The brain’s memory is like an information superhighway that can be customized to give you the directions you need to get from point A to point B. Just like a car navigation system, your brain can follow the routes that your brain has already programmed for you.
There are many ways you can make stories more effective in your loved one’s memory restoration efforts. When making memory stories in memory care, use a tape recorder or VCR to record their favorite memories. These memories will be a great anchor for your loved one’s brain. When they listen to these stories, their brain is given the push and pull it needs to keep going as new stories and memories are created. By listening to their favorite stories, you are reminding their brain that it can go where they lead it, so it won’t get lost.
Another way you can make your stories in memory more effective is to include important people in their life. Have friends and family record some memories about them sharing moments with your loved one. You can include some comments along with the recorded memories, or you could even have the person write a few notes themselves about how much they enjoyed being in your loved one’s life. Remembering the lives of those they love will give their brain the push and pull it needs to remember the good times and soothe them at night when they are feeling blue. The stories in memory care can often help them to forget the bad times because they are so drawn to relive the positives again.
When you are creating stories in memory care, remember that there is room for all types of stories. When they listen to a story in memory care about a person who inspired their life, make sure you don’t leave out any details. Remember that it is their story, so you can be as descriptive as you like. Remember that when you are using the power of life stories in memory care, you have plenty of time to share these stories with others.