A recent March 11, 2018, New York Times article detailed a Liverpool museum that is attempting to fight the isolation and pain of dementia. They have instituted memory stimulating suitcases that have been devised as part of their House of Memories, the Liverpool Museums’ multipronged dementia program. This program just celebrated its fifth birthday. The program also has its own app, offers training days for caregivers and family members, and memory walks, and hour long guided tours of the Museum of Liverpool devised to get older visitors to share their memories of life in the city. Drawing on past memories and events of importance is so important and beneficial.
I was pleased to see this article as this is something that I have been doing for my clients for many, many years. I have not done my customized items in suitcase form, like the museum is doing, but in hat boxes usually. In the article they talk about a person resistant to showering, which is actually a common problem for many with dementia. For those who have had bathing issues, I suggest sponge baths and not showers as those with advanced dementia can often times no longer see the water, it becomes literally invisible, and they feel attacked when showering. I often place items in their "bath time sensory memory box" from their childhood, including sensory items (to smell, taste, touch), that evoke pleasant long term memories and help with in moving past bathing resistance. I also do bedtime boxes to assist those in the evening.
In addition, to these types of sensory stimulation boxes, , I have also been providing clients with individualized daily routines and customized activity kits and boxes. to use at home. This takes the guess work and stress out of activities and appropriate home stimulation. I also do special boxes filled with activities that are for use when family members take a break and leave the home. These are often times in present form for the client to unwrap and serve as a fun diversion and surprise for the individual at home with a caregiver.
If you or your family member would benefit from a customized daily routine or activity programming at home, please feel free to contact me via my contact page!
I am always happy to help in moving people forward in a positive way!