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Memory of Past Events | Management Strategies

  1. If the person you care for has difficulty remembering important dates and events, it may help to have a memory book to keep family, friends and special occasions straight. It should contain photographs of people or milestones identified by name, time, place and date. Write the names, birthdays and wedding anniversaries underneath the appropriate pictures and review the book on a regular basis with the person you care for.

  2. It is important to stay calm and patient when communicating with the person you care for. Becoming upset or annoyed when they are having difficulty remembering something will only frustrate the person you care for further, increase their anxiety and make communication even more difficult. Create a caring and understanding atmosphere to encourage the person to keep trying.

  3. If the person you care for has difficulty remembering important events that have occurred such as a doctor appointment last month or the date the power bill was paid, keep an organizer with a record of all these events. This organizer will provide a quick reference to the person you care for in order to reassure and remind them of past activities.

  4. It is often easier for a person to recall the details of a past event if they are prompted. This may take the form of either visual or verbal cues. For example, showing the person you care for pictures of their wedding may help them recall the details. Similarly, asking the person you care for questions about the past event may also help to trigger details.

  5. If the person you care for has difficulty recalling past events, this does not necessarily mean that these should be topics avoided in conversation. It is a good idea to tell the person you care for about the past event. You also can have friends or relatives do so. This will help remind the person of past events, and provide a comfortable and familiar topic for conversation.

  6. If the person you care for becomes agitated or distressed by being unable to remember the details of a past event, it may help to switch to a different topic or to distract them with another activity.

  7. Sometimes people can remember details of their past life, but only in isolation. This makes it difficult for them to remember the order in which they occurred. This can cause them to get stuck when telling a story, because they lack the information that comes from knowing the right sequence of events. You can help the person you care for with some gentle corrections that will put things back in the right order. For example, you could say "No it couldn't have been Ricky who was with you then dear. That happened before we were married, and Ricky wasn't even born yet. Maybe you are thinking of your brother Bob when he was very little."

  8. Make a memory book - a list of memories or stories the person you care for likes to tell so they can look over it in the future.

See Also:
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Memory
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Last updated January 13, 2019
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