If your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, it does not have to mean the end of communication between you and them. Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease of the mind and body, but there have been quite a few studies on how memory training can work to slow down the disease’s process. Scientists have discovered that people with Alzheimer’s are able to remember many events, people and matters from the earlier parts of their lives. What is normally challenging for them to remember is the present and near past.
There are brain-training exercises you can do with your loved one to help keep their minds sharp and memory fresh. After your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it would be good to implement the training exercises as soon as possible. This is the best time to begin because the disease is still in the early stages and has not fully affected your loved one’s memory.
Talk to friends and family members that grew up with your loved one and find out about their past. Gather information on where they lived during their childhood, what hobbies they had, what books and music they enjoyed, and dig up all of the pictures of them that you can. These will come in handy when using memory-training exercises with your loved one.
As the disease starts to set in, you can actually boost your loved one’s memory by continually exercising their brain. The brain is a muscle, and like the rest of the body’s muscles, it will grow weak after periods of no use. Here are a few brain-training tips to get you started on strengthening your loved one’s mind:
Pictures – Find pictures of family, friends, events and places that are familiar to your loved one and in the early stages you can talk to them about these pictures. Ask questions and let them tell you about their memories. In the later stages, you will need to prompt these memories as they talk to you and you will also need to ask questions to help them remember.
Music – Recent studies have proven that music is remembered by all. Alzheimer’s patients who could not remember family were able to recognize and sing every word of songs that they listened to years ago. If you choose a few songs that have memories attached, this will be a fun way to keep those memories fresh.
People – There are many important people in your loved one’s life, such as family, friends and even pets. Before these people come to visit, talk to your loved one about them. Use pictures to make sure that they associate the right face to the right memory.
Timelines – When looking at pictures and talking about old memories, it may help to be able to show your loved one a few different pictures of people they know. For example, if they remember a friend from 30 years ago, be sure to have a picture of the person 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago and a picture of them as they are today. Because people with Alzheimer’s tend to only remember people as they were in the past, this may help your loved one to recognize their friends and family even though they have grown older.
Using these memory training exercises can help slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s. Help your loved one fight this terrible disease by exercising their mind and give them hope by filling their thoughts with wonderful memories. Be patient while working with them and know that the work you are doing with them can help make a difference. Honor their memories by allowing them to share their stories with you.