As a professional organizer and move manager our team is called into homes to just “CLEAN OUT” - “GET RID OF”. People no longer can cope and begin to dive into their own collection of “stuff” over the years. They just accumulate more. Some consider it a “dirty job”, but we love it. We help people put their nest (home) back in order which gives us great gratification and accomplishment.
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If you take care of an older adult in Central Indiana, be they your spouse, parent, grandparent or other family member, you are doing yeoman's work.
In my job as a Senior Move Manager and professional organizer in Indianapolis - one who specializes in working with senior clients or their caregiver families - I often get the honor of helping seniors with diminished memory. I see the heartache that family members experience as they struggle to deal with a parent who seems to be slowly slipping away.
But those same family members often share with me the ways that they cope and also work to motivate their parents to stay in the present. I thought I'd share with you some of their advice.
Utilizing the 5 Senses is one of the best ways to help seniors with dementia or Alzheimers enjoy activities that used to be a fun or important part of their lives.
The smells and activity of cooking or baking can bring back memories and inspire a senior. Offer them (and yourself) the Gift of Taste.
*Try encouraging them to help you bake cookies. They may not remember how, but drop some cookie dough in front of them and they may just find themselves excited to spread the dough out and spoon it up. Hands often remember better than the mind.
*Sample different flavors of tea
*Sample holiday treats that can bring back warm memories, like candy canes, jelly beans, pumpkin pie, and the like.
Very few things evoke memories like music. It's a powerful thing. Spend some time with your loved one and their favorite music. Again, holidays and special occasions typically stand out, so sing some holiday carols to them, along with Happy Birthday (insert the names of family members), Here Comes Peter Cottontail, etc.
Grab a CD with some of their favorite music or tunes from the era in which they grew up. You can also take them to as many local concerts and performances as possible, be it a park concert in Carmel, a big show in Fishers, or a school concert in Noblesville.
Again, whatever the music, it's a powerful tool that magically enlivens the mind.
Those are just a few ideas. In my nexy blog post, I'll offer more.