With Monday marking World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21st, we are now coming to the end of World Alzheimer’s Month. Once again the month long campaign has successfully worked to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
World Alzheimer’s Month occurs in September every year as a globally coordinated effort to try and raise more general awareness of Alzheimer’s and the effect it has on millions of people around the world. Each year the month of September provides an opportunity for Alzheimer’s organisations and associations to gain credibility for the work they do, and unite with other opinions leaders and people living with dementia to influence government, health systems, and the media. Additionally, Alzheimer’s Disease International choose to focus on a different message each year in order to challenge misconceptions about Alzheimer’s and dementia. This year the theme is Remember Me.
As a senior care organisation and specialist dementia care agency, Home Instead is only too aware of the impact Alzheimer’s can have on the lives of individuals and their families. At the core of our care is the belief that Alzheimer’s and other dementias should never stop an individual from living their life and doing the things they have always loved.
Home Instead stand by the World Alzheimer’s Month theme Remember Me at all times. We hold regular free workshops for family members of those living with dementia to help them better understand what their loved one is experiencing, as well as addressing any issues, concerns, or misconceptions about the disease. We also look at managing difficult situations that might occur, and the importance of looking after yourself as a family carer – while always remembering to see things from their family member’s point of view.
Our own CAREGivers receive comprehensive Alzheimer’s and dementia training on an ongoing basis, and they become a crucial part of our clients’ lives, and offer invaluable peace of mind to them and their families. As part of this our CAREGivers help family members to remember their loved one, as well as helping them to retain their own memories by filling out a life journal.
The Life Journal is a key component to Home Instead Senior Care’s specialised Alzheimer’s and dementia training programme, and was created to help clients and CAREGivers connect on a personal level and develop a much more personal care experience by sharing life stories and experiences with each other.
The Life Journal consists of different sections that can be filled out together with a CAREGiver or family member; consisting of areas such as writing about their family and any stories they can remember about their parents and grandparents. There are also sections on when they were little, growing up, family traditions, and getting married. Clients are encouraged to reminisce with their CAREGivers and write down any details they can remember, such as toys they used to play with, pets they had, childhood friends, teachers, chores, special birthdays, their first date, honeymoon, and more. Our clients are also encouraged to discuss their views on books or films they love, as well as their feelings on religion and politics.
The journal is able to create a wonderfully full snapshot of a client’s life that they are able to look at and add to whenever they are able. This can then become a lifelong keepsake for families who can use it to remember that the person their loved might be now is still the person they have always cared for.