If you missed the March Alzheimer’s conference, presented by the Alzheimer’s Community Care Association, then I would like to share one of the lectures with you. The class is entitled, “Creating Moments of JOY.” The speaker is Jolene Brackey, a contemporary leader in communicating creatively with individuals suffering from the brain deficits of Alzheimer’s disease. This article contains her words of wisdom.

“Modern science is trying to produce a tranquilizer more effective than a few kind words.”

We neglect to realize the significant effect we have on Alzheimer’s patients. We are responsible for our words and actions towards them. We can foster positive responses! Jolene advises, “Stop trying to bring them into reality!” Pretend that their world is real. Go with the flow of their conversation. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the patient’s perception of age regresses. The patient may think that he/she is a child and ask about people or events from childhood. You can create a moment of joy by helping the patient revisit these long-term memories.

“When we bring sunshine into the lives of others, we are warmed by it ourselves.”

The more you know about the Alzheimer’s patient’s background, hobbies, and preferences, the better prepared you are to bring joy into his/her life. For instance, if the person loved to fish, then hang pictures of fish in his room. Bring in a fishing pole and start an activity of “pretend fishing.” Bring in a tackle box (with safe objects) and let him rummage through it. All the while, you can share fishing stories.

“I will forget what you said, I will forget what you did, but I will never forget how you made me feel.”

When a person has short-term memory loss their life is made up of moments. When you create a moment of joy for someone else, you are creating a happy memory for yourself.

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