When you are caring for a parent at home who is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, you may wonder if there is anything you can do to help improve their memory. Below is a memory game you can play each day to help them remember important people and events in their life.
Setting Up The Game Board
The first thing to do is to set up the game board. For this, you will need a poster board, two-sided tape, various pictures from your parent's family and past, a marker, and sticky notes. To personalize the board, choose colors that are most appealing to your loved one or ones that spark memories, such as the colors used in their wedding.
Cut an inch-sized piece of tape for each picture. Remove the strip from one side and affix it to the back of a photograph. Then, remove the other side and place it on the poster board.
You can arrange them in any pattern you wish. However, to keep the game easy for your parent, put them in some type of order, such as in order chronologically or grouped by family members.
Once you have placed all of the pictures on the board, write down a description for each using the sticky notes. Write down who is in the picture, when and where it was taken, and anything else special about it. Write the information with the sticky side up so it is concealed when placed under the picture.
Playing The Game
After you have set up the game board, the rules of playing the game are simple. At least once a day, whenever you and your loved one has free time, pull out the board and point to a picture. Ask your parent what they remember about it.
If they remember more than what you have written down, allow your parent to tell the story. The more they can remember, the better the game works at improving their fading memory.
If they have trouble remembering the details, be patient and give them gentle reminders. If they are not able to recall the people or places in the pictures, remove the sticky note and either have them read it or read it out loud to them. Then repeat the process with the other pictures.
Playing the game every day serves as a reminder for your parent. It also helps stimulate their memory receptors, helping to slow the progression of their illness. It also allows you to spend time with your parent reminiscing about the good times.
Variation On The Game
If you do not wish to make a game board or do not have enough pictures, you can alter the game to suit your and your loved one's needs. One way you can play the game is to gather a number of objects that are of important historical significance to your parent, like a candleholder from your parents' wedding or a lace doily crocheted by their mother.
Place the objects on a table and write down the same information on the sticky notes as described in the first section. While playing the game this way, pick up an object and place it in your parent's hands. Ask them to tell you the story about it, having them describe as many details as possible, including smells, sights, and sounds associated with the memory.
Playing the game above everyday can help jog your loved one's memory and improve their cognitive responses. If you would like more ideas on helping your parent's recall and recognition response, you may want to speak with their at home healthcare representative for suggestions.