Memory Club Based Socialization for Dementia Patients

Memory Based Socialization

Dealing with the dementia patient can be both heartbreaking and challenging. The February 2014 issue of JAMDA (Journal of American Medical Directors Association) highlights a very interesting approach toward supporting someone with dementia.  The article entitled “Baseball Reminiscence League: A Model for Supporting Persons with Dementia”  brings into focus groups formed around sports such as baseball and soccer.  By encouraging those with various levels of dementia to join a memory club based on a shared interest, dementia patients can talk about their earlier memories which are often much clearer to them than recent ones.  In these groups, participants share their intense interest and relate their opinions and experiences, thereby giving them the opportunity to express their feelings in a venue they rarely have in their lives anymore, a social group. Consequently, a by-product of this is a reduction in their awful feelings of isolation.

Reminiscence Therapy

This reminiscence therapy is a wonderful way to enrich the lives of seniors with dementia.  Though the data is skimpy at this point, outcomes seem to be quite positive.  Respondents reported feeling more “alert and confident and less angry, anxious, and sad” (P.88) and their family caregivers confirmed this.  This type of storytelling has many benefits for patient and caregiver alike.  The patient gets to focus on what he or she actually does know versus their memory deficiency. Furthermore, the caregivers of dementia patients who have gone through this process have reported that it helped them have “a more positive view of the residents with a greater recognition of the patients’ previous life experiences”.  This translated into more job satisfaction which surely can directly impact on the quality of caregiving.

Memory Clubs Forming

This model has been tried in different countries with various groups forming recently.  In Scotland, they formed a Football (soccer to us) Reminiscence Program and in St. Louis a Cardinals Reminiscence League was formed in 2013 by the St. Louis Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.  Groups meet twice monthly and can even include field trips, guest speakers and movie viewings on theme.  Family members have ample opportunities to volunteer. Luckily, they can facilitate with minimal training.

Memory clubs have great potential for national replication across hundreds if not thousands of locales nationally. Also, they can be adapted to many different hobbies for themes.  As well, web resources are available. Fortunately, this is a very low budget scheme for enriching the lives of our older generation.  Of course, anything that could help improve the life of senior and their caregivers that is implementable in both day care and institutional setting is certainly well worth the effort.

David York Agency Caregivers

David York Agency caregivers are well-versed in all forms of dementia care. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Memory Clubs Offer Benefits to Dementia Patients

Memory Clubs for Dementia

More and more, dementia patients are being encouraged to join Memory Clubs, a popular and successful form of Reminiscence Therapy.  This therapy involves clubs or social groups forming around shared and intense interests in which participants may discuss their opinions, experiences and feelings.  The focus of these groups could be sports like baseball and soccer or hobbies like gardening or art.  Participants get to focus on topics in which they are knowledgeable and passionate, giving them an enjoyable social activity.

Reminiscence Therapy

Memory-Clubs for elder caregiving

Reminiscence Therapy is a therapy that focuses on reflection and not simply recall.  Discussions are different from that which would typically occur in casual conversation. Reminiscence therapy may use prompts such as photographs, music, personal recordings or familiar items from the past to encourage discussion of earlier memories.  So, the demand cognitively is deeper and discussions are more meaningful to the participant.

For the elderly who suffer from dementia, Memory Clubs, as a pathway for Reminiscence Therapy, is beneficial to improving cognitive function and quality of life.  Dementia is a broad term used to describe a condition of declined mental ability that interferes with daily life.  Often, we think of it as memory loss affecting our elderly population.  While there is no cure for dementia, there are some treatments that have proven helpful.

Cognitive & Social Benefits for Dementia Patients

Participants in these Memory Clubs report both cognitive and social benefits.  Furthermore, they show improvement in memory and language abilities.  Moreover, they seem to have a stronger sense of self and improved positive mood, thereby improving their social situation.  And, this is all provided by an enjoyable social activity at a time when opportunities for meaningful socialization decline, often leaving our elderly with feelings of isolation.  Overall, Memory Clubs are a very low budget and a potentially beneficial way to treat and enrich the lives of our elderly dementia population.

In 2013, the St. Louis Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association formed the Cardinals Reminiscence League.  This group meets twice monthly for discussions, field trips, guest speakers and baseball related movie viewings.  And, because there is minimal training required for volunteers, there are many opportunities for family members to volunteer and share in the lives of their aging loved ones.

Find A Memory Club In Your Area

If you would like to find a Memory Club in your area, consult the resources below:
Or, it is easy to start one yourself.

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We at David York Agency are acquainted with this exciting approach to dementia. Furthermore, we are always available to set up a senior care plan taking the whole patient into account. We are ultra sensitive to the state of mind of our elderly patients and are committed to treating them with the respect and understanding that their years have earned them.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 with any questions or visit our website at www.davidyorkagency.com to schedule a free consultation.