Coping with Alzheimer’s or Dementia? Join Our $10,000 Family Reunion Contest

alzheimers contestIf you have a relative with Alzheimer’s disease, Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis would like to reach out to you. The challenges and emotional ups and downs involved in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s are often quietly handled within the family. In this post, we’ll provide information on how you can share your Alzheimer’s story for a chance to win a family reunion package, as well as some special information on preserving memories of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Deadline is January 31st!

Every family’s story is unique and different. What’s yours?

Home Instead Senior Care Network is running a January contest. To enter, simply share a bit of your family story in essay or video form by January 31st. By sharing your story, you will be entered to win a family reunion!

Finalists will be chosen by a Judge’s Panel and notified by February 15th, 2012. Online voting will occur from March 28th through June 30th, 2012. And the family that wins the Grand Prize will be revealed (after the family reunion event) on November 15th, 2012.

Visit the contest page on the main Home Instead website for complete details.

How to Preserve Your Special Memories

Memory sharing for people experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia can be a wonderful way to help your loved one engage with his or her meaningful past. It is important to find caring, non-stressful ways to help someone dealing with a decline in cognitive ability to share memories. Here are some tips to help you plan your memory sharing sessions:

1. Encourage memory sharing without putting your loved one on the spot.

In a group situation, such as a family get-together in Minneapolis or St. Paul, you can encourage your loved one to share a memory in a gentle way by asking a broad, open-ended question. And be patient for the answer. For example, you could ask if mom or dad has a special memory from one of your Minnesota family camping trips. But avoid more specific questions like, “Mom, do you remember what trip we took in 1989?”

dementia2. Share pictures and reminisce, without expectation.

Your loved one might enjoy looking at family photo albums, but may not recognize everyone in the pictures. Avoid quizzing him or her about photos of specific individuals. Instead, offer your own thoughts and allow your loved one to share thoughts and memories as they occur. For example, you might say, “Oh, I remember that day. You wore that pretty blue dress.” Allow time for your loved one to ponder and share too.

3. If recording, be patient and give your loved one time to reflect and share.

Recording video or audio is a great idea, but remember to leave plenty of time for the session together, and be okay with gaps and silence. With patience, you may be able to draw out some special memories. Remember that excess silence can be edited out later.

4. Make a list of general, open-ended questions, not specific dates and details.

Go into the memory sharing session without an expectation of recording an exact journalistic account of your loved one’s life. Bring a list of open ended questions with a goal to encourage your family member to talk about what he or she wants to remember and share.

5. Be conversational and invite thoughts to flow.

It’s important when speaking with someone experiencing mental decline to be conversational and ask a variety of questions, but without interrogating. It’s okay to probe a bit for more detail, but without putting the person on the spot or causing discomfort. Certain memories may surface with some gentle prodding in a light, conversational manner.

6. Be prepared to end the session at a natural stopping place.

Whether your memory sharing session is long or short will depend upon a number of factors on any given day, including how close it is to mealtime and whether your loved one is having a particularly good day. Be prepared to extend the session if the memories are flowing, or bring it to a close if your loved one seems fatigued, frustrated or eager to change the subject.
Did You Know? Our Staff is Specially Trained to Help People Living with Alzheimer’s

Our CARE approach (Changing Aging through Research and Education) can make a huge positive impact on the way people live with dementia. We utilize a unique CAREGiver training program to help our Home Instead CAREGivers provide the most caring, skilled support to families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

Our support services include:

  • Capturing Life’s Journey With this memory care service our CAREGiver will gather past stories and experiences; doing so provides comfort and customized care while honoring the senior’s special past.
  • Techniques to Manage Behavior – By giving simple choices and redirecting, our CAREGivers help your family member to live safely at home.
  • Encouraging Engagement – Our CAREGivers focus on your loved one’s mental, physical and social well-being. Engaging seniors throughout the day builds self-esteem, enhances physical strength and reduces behaviors that might put the senior at risk.
  • Supporting the Family – Home Instead CAREGivers are to work closely with your family and have open communication, which results in quality care for the senior.

Home Instead Minneapolis CAREGivers who are trained in the CARE program receive ongoing classroom training, which the Center of Aging Research Education Services (CARES) at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill helps to administer. Our trained team not only has a full understanding of what to expect and how to treat dementia clients with care, but they also have a passion and desire to work with these clients and ensure quality of life.