Page 14 - Miles for Memories Dementia Booklet 2022
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 Caregiver Solutions –
Teaching Youth About Dementia
Why is it that a senior with dementia will light up when they see children and yet the same children can be somewhat shy with the person living with dementia? I believe that some of the reticence comes from the adults around them. They just need to learn that it is OK, and quite possi- bly lots of fun, to spend time with them.
When a loved one receives a diagnosis of dementia the entire family is impacted, including the children. Talking to the kids in a clear and calm way is important. Kids should be reassured that they can still love and interact with their loved one. They should be encouraged to ask questions about the disease. And if asked... there is no cure.
One of the easiest ways for children
to be comforted, assured, or included as changes occur is through activities. For best success, recall activities the adult enjoyed. Determine how those might be adjusted for both younger and older chil- dren. They can have fun and learn together.
Reminiscing – can happen through storytelling, photo albums, home movies, or even photos from a box. Ask about everyone in the pictures.
It’s important for parents to understand that it is not necessary to correct a loved one during the storytelling process as
long as the child and adult are engaged
in spending enjoyable time together. Corrections can always be made later, if necessary.
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Therapeutic activities – might include water, walking, music and dancing, garden- ing, or coloring. Maria Shriver published
an adult coloring and activity book called “Color Your Mind.” Furthermore, Miles for Memories is in phase two of their Melodi- ous Memories Music Program, which can be a benefit to everyone in the family.
Creative activities – are good for both children and the person living with dementia. Painting, making books, cards, necklaces with baubles, and more. It’s also possible that Grandma can teach the grandkids a thing or two about sewing, knitting, even playing the piano. Cooking and baking might also be something that can be enjoyed together.
Indoor activities – technology can make time together fun from music to playing games on the iPad, play station, or wii, or even watching a favorite movie or musical. Card games, board games, or the never-ending game of Monopoly all are memorable. Reading can be beneficial for everyone. It can help the young learner get more comfortable with words as they are read to and then to become a better reader as they practice reading to Grand- ma. Reading can take you both to fun new places.
Outdoor activities – could include water, gardening, walks, or even a trip to the zoo. Water might be perfect on a hot day outside; get out that water hose and sprinkler for some silly fun. If the senior
also enjoyed gardening, working with elevated gardens might be a great activity and can include digging in the dirt as well as watering the plants, flowers, or vegeta- bles that are growing.
The bottom line is that spending time with the person with demen- tia can be beneficial for kids and adults.
Miles for Memories has worked with local artists to create our very own puppets, write the script, and produce our first puppet show geared toward elementary students. It was launched in 2022. The puppet show has been taped for all to view when they need help shar- ing dementia with young children and can be viewed at com/watch?v=Ftz6XUKytkc&ab_chan- nel=AccessVisionConnect. Our first pup- pet show features a chalkboard and the main theme is love, understanding, and patience. We have featured our puppets in our first coloring book that addresses the same concepts as the puppet show. Two new puppet shows are scheduled for release in 2023; one that features kids responding to teasing and the next features pets.
To schedule a visit to your school or youth organization contact Miles for Mem- ories at or by calling (269) 979-1412.
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