Mildred was 73 when she began noticing something changing. Her mind wasn’t as sharp is it had been throughout her life. She would often stop, look around, and struggle to figure out what it was she was looking for. She didn’t notice it at the time, but some of her friends began commenting on her use of various words during conversations. She also struggled to keep track of medications and appointments. She didn’t realize that she was exhibiting the earliest signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
As the disease began to progress, her family was supporting her as best they could, but they also encouraged her to consider home care support services. Not only were they limited in just how much time they could devote to caring for her, they also had no prior experience supporting somebody with this form of dementia. They wanted Mildred to have the best possible life, no matter how many years she had left, and they understood the things she did early on could be beneficial as the disease progressed.
She began relying on a couple of home care providers.
One of these home care aides, a woman in her early 50s, had been supporting seniors just like her for years. She knew a lot about the progressive nature of Alzheimer’s and put in place numerous strategies that could be beneficial at helping slow down the progression of memory loss.
This caregiver did not, in any way, promise that memory loss would stop, but that there was a chance mental stimulation could help slow down its progression (Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation).
One of those activities Mildred and this home care aide began doing was to take a drive throughout her community. Mildred had been living in the same town where she grew up and was quite familiar with most of the area. Even though it had grown significantly since her early days of life, there were many places that conjured up a wealth of memories.
It wasn’t necessarily the drive that was beneficial, but they walked down memory lane, so to speak. When seniors with Alzheimer’s begin looking through old photo albums, recounting things they were doing, remembering people they haven’t seen in decades, it taps into parts of the brain that doesn’t get accessed often, or exercised.
This is a wonderful way to help provide some benefit, regardless of how minimal or significant it may be, to those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.