In 2012 my dear mother was diagnosed with mixed dementia.
Our world was shattered, never to be the same again.
I researched all I could about the disease … searched desperately for ways to
stimulate my mum's memory and keep her active and happy.
I discovered 3 Therapies that can help those living with dementia,
Art Therapy, Music Therapy & Pet Therapy and now we use all three in our daily routine.
My mum has always been a very creative person, an acomplished artist,
seamstress ... infact she could turn her hand to anything!
I inherited her love of art and graduated in 1984 with a degree in Textile design.
However I put my creativity on the back burner for many years
and only rediscovered art when I found out how invaluable it is
for those with memory problems.
I make sure that we always have a craft project on the go …
making crepe paper flowers ... hand-made cards .... paper weights from
stones & shell craft ... anything that keeps her hands busy and mind active!
For my mum, Art Therapy offers substantial rewards.
While art and crafts cannot cure my mum’s dementia, they give her a way to
express herself, a sense of personal accomplishment, the satisfaction of completion
and simply the joy of the artistic process.
Musical aptitude and appreciation are often two of the last remaining abilities
for individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Music Therapy has been found to improve overall mental and physical well being.
A recent study proves that music boosts brain activity and evokes emotion
which can help an individual recall a memory.
Music connects through emotion and physical closeness (dancing).
Music (particularly singing) is engaging and can alter moods,
manage stress and creative positive interactions.
My mum regularly attends 'Singing For the Brain' run by the Alzheimers Society
and she looks forward to it every month as not only does she enjoy the singing,
but it gives her an opportunity to interact socially with others.
I also play all her favoutite music from the 40's and 50's
in the background most of the day which she thoroughly enjoys
and finds very comforting.
Being an animal lover, my mum has always kept pets and at present has a
Siamese cross Ragdoll cat called "Gabby", who she absolutely adores.
Through research I have discovered that there are many benefits to keeping a pet!
- Reduced agitation
- Increased pleasure
- Lower blood pressure
I take my mum to animal parks & petting farms or to feed the local ducks
as often as the weather allows.
There are many other activites that we enjoy doing together ...
jigsaw puzzles, colouring books, crossword puzzles,
watching You Tube funny animal videos and looking at old photographs.
Mum's long term memory is still excellent, so the photographs of her childhood
growing up in Canada with her brothers and sisters bring her great happiness.
I absolutetly treasure this time with my mum ... she's such a joy to care for.