Week 1, 25th March. Activity - Music
1). Create a playlist (or more). These can be themed to suit the memories most available to the person with dementia. As you know, the older memories are the ones that remain the longest, so perhaps a playlist from your teenage years, or from old musicals, films etc.
2). If you or the person with dementia ever played a musical instrument would it still be possible to do that? Memory works in different ways and often even if reading music is no longer possible a person can play tunes simply because the recall process of actually playing is still working.
3). Sing! Singing can create an immediate uplift in mood, and it doesn't matter if you're not a great singer as long as you have a go. Again, try for older songs as these will be remembered more easily.
4). Dig out old records. The older the better. Particularly from memorable stages of life, such as school days, teenage years, 'courting' days, etc.
5). Dance. Again, the more you let yourself enjoy it, the better. They say you should always dance like no-one's looking! (Definitely so in my case). Old familiar dances may surprise you by seeming to come back quite naturally as these memories may still be accessible long after recent ones are lost.
You don't need to follow activities to talk about music. Instead of the above - or as well as - try talking about different aspects of music. You can chat about your favourite types of music; what music you each remember from the past; groups and singers you loved and hated; the first records you remember buying; musicals you've seen, favourite film scores; music and songs you remember from school or church; types of music; types of dance; songs you love, and dancing you've enjoyed.
If you have very different tastes/favourite music or songs, create different playlists and both listen either in turns, or with headphones on.
The same goes for singing. It can be great to sing together, but equally, if your tastes are very different, singing along with your own headphones is just as good.
Finally, as one very wise carer told me "...it's been great for me to see my wife singing and listening to music again, but when I've heard enough I just take my hearing aid out!"
More next week. Take care.