I have the privilege of working with clients with early-stage dementia. I’m invited into their homes weekly for months at a time.
We spend an hour together. We usually start with memory games. I encourage their family members to send emails with photos; we read them and reply.
One client has fond memories of her college years. I found a wealth of oral histories of her classmates on her alma mater’s website. As she watches and listens, her smile stretches across her face.
Another client likes to sing. I find karaoke videos and she sings along with Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland (okay, sometimes I do, too). She turns to me and says, “This is fun!”
One of my favorite activities is to ask a client where he or she grew up. They can usually give me an exact street address or a specific neighborhood. More times than not, I can find their childhood home and then the room is filled with their stories.
I don’t have a medical background and I’m not a gerontologist. But I do know that when I’m there, a connection happens and the smiles are abundant.