It's well known that with living longer comes concerns around age related disease. Dementia is on the rise in our communities as more of us reach an age where it can become an issue. For many years, finding a way to keep people with dementia content and well has been a top priority. Until we can prevent or cure things like this illness, we can find better ways of helping people cope.
Memory is important to us, it helps us to define ourselves and our own personal stories give us the motivations and inspirations to achieve things in life. When we take a positive outlook on our memories, we take a positive outlook on our selves and our lives. So to know that one of the key symptoms of dementia is loss of long term memory, it can be extremely traumatic for those involved. When someone we love doesn't know who we are or can't place what we mean to them in life, it can be very hard. For the sufferer too, the confusion, not knowing who to trust, not knowing what is happening on a daily basis, can all build into unhappy times.
We've been using prompts to help dementia sufferers to remember for years, music has long been successful in stirring up memories from the past. More often these days, carers are turning to poetry as well. With timing, flow, cadence, and imagery, the mind can be prompted on many levels with one reading. If we know the poetry from life then all the better, but poetry about things from the past can also be extremely helpful. The many prompt approach can kick-start those neurons, even just a little.
Art in general has been shown to be extremely rewarding for people with dementia. The process of creating something for a reason by using the imagination is like a massage for the overworked grey matter. Gently waking up the mind to think over and do is helpful for anyone with mental health. We tend to remind ourselves of things and interact with internal dialogue, especially when creating or thinking imaginatively. Encouraging this kind of thing may keep the doctor at bay for us and if we ever get to be a carer for someone then we'll know what we can do.
Want to read some poetry now? Here's mine.
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