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For seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, the pressure to remember things can be one of the greatest sources of stress. What can senior loved ones do to reduce this stress? Storytelling! Storytelling and Narrative therapy can be a process for replacing the pressure to remember with the freedom to imagine.

How does it work?

Participants start with a silly photo and are guided through a process of creating a story about what is shown in the picture they’re given. This form of cognitive and behavioral therapy is thought to delay the progression of dementia. The process encourages communication with fellow residents, caregivers and family members.

“Laughter is contagious. Laughter is healing. And laughter can brighten the lives of people with dementia or Alzheimer’s,” said Joyce Vanderpool, one of the founders of The Creative Story Project. An Intergenerational Story Power program that pairs students in schools or youth organizations with residents of the senior community.

"We are able to take them into a care facility where they work with primarily dementia residents,” Vanderpool said. “It is a great experience for both the students and the residents. Sessions always include lots of laughter, hugs and invitations to return. And the students do return to visit their new friends and bring them love and hugs - and an enthusiasm for life that youth can provide.”

Written by: Meghan O’Dea

memory care nashvilleWe all want to imagine that our futures will be filled with better days than our pasts, but a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is tough to accept because it brings with it a lot of uncertainty. The positive is that the sooner the condition is discovered and arrangements for caregiving established, the lesser the disruption in the lives of the affected senior and his or her family.

After the diagnosis, families should take steps to prepare, according to the Alzheimer’s Association (AA). These processes include:

  • Locating important documents with contact names and account numbers, insurance policies, investments, bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, property deeds, and any paperwork such as pre-paid funeral arrangements.
  • Talking about medications the senior is prescribed and any needs such as home maintenance that a caregiver will need to take responsibility for handling if and when the person with Alzheimer’s can no longer manage this.
  • Discussing the senior’s wishes as far as long-term care and how he or she wants to be treated if no longer able to communicate wishes and seriously ill. Senior advisors recommend having an attorney draw up a living will for this purpose. A trusted individual may be designated with durable power of attorney. Copies of a living will should be given to caregivers, attorneys and physicians so they can refer to it when needed.
  • Researching long-term care options and how to pay for them.
  • Reviewing home safety and coming up with a plan for how to manage the activities of daily living.
  • Designating a caregiver or caregivers who will be responsible for taking care of the aging parent. In some cases, this will be a family member. Other times, those affected decide to get help from a dedicated community like Maybelle Carter Senior Living, offering solutions and resources that maximize strengths and promote independence.

At Maybelle Carter’s Remembrance Village, our caregivers are specifically trained and receive continuing education to care for memory impaired residents. We have licensed nurses on staff 24/7. And our newly designed secured accommodations create a stress-free, comfortable environment with less confusion.

These can be difficult conversations to have, but according to the Alzheimer’s Association, waiting until a crisis hits to get affairs in order can make the process even more arduous and emotionally taxing on everyone involved. They recommend involving well-qualified medical and legal advisors for the initial diagnosis and pulling together resources after.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers a free, customized planning tool called Alzheimer’s Navigator that can help families map out a plan. It can be found at https://www.alzheimersnavigator.org/ The organization also offers online resources that let people know they are not alone in facing such challenges.

To learn more about Remembrance Village, call (844) 602-2602.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Published in Memory Care

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