Activities for Alzheimers

Reminiscing is a great and fun activity for anybody, in fact most of us do it on a daily basis, especially as we get older. It might be that we are telling the younger generation about what it was like when we went to school, how music used to be played decades ago or how we met our first love.

So many things have changed (for the better and worse), but so much has become history (family or otherwise), reminiscing between generations is important for the young and old for many reasons.

However, for those diagnosed with Alzheimers it has added benefits. It can:
• trigger thoughts and memories.
• create a sense of achievement, both in doing and what was done in the past.
• keep the brain active.
• encourage the expression of emotions.
• build a bond with the person they are talking to.
• enable confident conversation.
• transport a person back to happier times.
• leave a legacy of stories.

Along with this, reminiscing can be done by anyone anywhere, walking down the street, sitting on a park bench or in a favourite comfy chair. It’s also a great activity to span the age gap between grandparents and grandchildren, or to cover those embarrassing silences when visitors are unsure quite what to say or do.

More often than not the challenge with looking back and talking about the past is not to do with anything other than knowing where to start, which question to ask, which topic to choose. For that reason we have a great recommendation Elizabeth’s specially designed 112 Trigger Questions.

Focusing on different aspects of a person’s life these 112 questions are just as relative to teenagers as they are to octogenarians. Each question comes on a separate card, and the pack of cards (which comes in its own drawstring organza bag) fits neatly into a pocket, handbag or glovebox.

Sample questions include:
• Think back to your favourite holiday. What made it special?
• What was it like the day you left school?
• Talk about a day in favourite job?
• What were birthdays like in your family?
• What is one thing you would like your grandchildren to know about you?

Suitable for writing or conversation this pack of 100 Trigger Questions has no end of possibilities with each question capable of stimulating many different answers.

• putting them in a bowl on a side table so that questions can be picked out at random when the need arises or at a regular time of day.
• Asking one question a day and audio taping or videoing the answer, so as to create an oral history.
• Giving as a gift with a writing journal. I did this to a friend and he now writes down the answer to one question a day, much to the delight of his children who now have an autobiographical history of their father’s life.

Elizabeth’s Writing from Life Trigger Questions (AUS$14.95) are available from the store on Life’s Inspirational Moments website.

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