A reader sent this to me today and I think it’s worthy of your consideration.  Do you think this would work?  Why or why not?

https://www.citylab.com/design/2018/09/why-a-memory-town-is-coming-to-your-local-strip-mall/569905/

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11 comments

  1. Except for a small percentage, in my estimation this will be in effort in futility. Here’s why I say this. First, the type of “supposed” setting in that time is more Hollywood (“The Music Man” or “Back To The Future”) than reality for many people. It would be unrelatable and more confusing than it would be memory jarring. Also, as many folks retire & move away from family & friends their ability to hide memory loss from afar is quite the parlor trick that becomes a developed course of action so as to not lose control of what they feel they are still able to control. Or so they think. But with or without attention being drawn to the flaws or pointed out… and in a sense we as family members or friends miss things because, like watching children grow, the gradual day-to-day effects aren’t noticeable. Take them out of their comfort zone space (ie: a fall results in a rehab facility before being sent home or a move to another city or an assisted living community) and the chaos begins, the familiar is no longer and confusion rears its ugly head making everyone aware. Maybe what we all should be doing all of the time is unplugging (devices are just so much a part of our lives in many ways including tv’s for the elderly), having real conversations with real, meaningful open-ended questions then LISTEN to what is said with thoughtful followup questions asked & comments. Ask Mom how a family favorite dish is prepared, make it with them & enjoy. Ask Dad about what it is he does to always catch that fish, nail a repair or look for to make a savvy investment. Just an aside, Mom may be the one to ask & likewise Dad about cooking 😉 Bring out the slides or home movies or photo albums & spend time reliving memories. Start with ones you know & can add humor & flavor to so as it make it a joint effort. Maybe devotionals, or other reading are more in order or some film noir. I should probably add that I moonlight as a care giver with special training in different eldercare types of issues including Alzheimer’s & dementia. Some of what I just wrote, asking families to do, are what I do when I’m on duty. Giving a sense of worth & purpose plus self esteem building in the early stages are so important, along with the trust foundation being built for the journey.

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      1. It’s an interesting tool, a way to gauge how they follow along (or not) especially if it’s a film they knew or loved in the past or has actors they admire.

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    1. Really detailed suggestions, thank you. I will try some with my Mom. As to my Dad however, he was alienated from his family. He kept no slides or pictures of them. He was one to drink to forget, not to remember. 😦

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  2. Glad to help. Doubtful, I’m sad to say, that given your dads personality anyone could have broken through his barriers & walls. I hope you find some successful tools for your interactions with mom, you’ll know by her look & demeanor.

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  3. Light of new day, James…. it occurs to me that when I wrote my long, rambling post it was geared towards everyone who is experiencing situations with a mother and/or father… to guide them along with ideas so they themselves might brainstorm for their own unique set of problems to implement a plan comfortably. Maybe even offer a starting point (I reread & exchanged starting for jumping-off… then added this as what I like to call gallows humor can actually be helpful for some). Given all of that, of course, I knew that your father had left this earthly plane. My “dad” ideas were directed to a broader audience. What you & others are going through is, at best, difficult. Strength to you & everyone who traverse the rough waters of Alzheimer’s and dementia with their loved ones.

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  4. Thanks to all for an enlightening thread. Dementia and Alzheimers are wicked diseases. With the two relatives of mine that had one or the other, my most effective, if infrequent (due to my not being in either of their cities often) stance was simply to listen, sometimes gently correcting each for confusing me with my father. Both relatives received a lot of love. One was starved for attention. As to this idea, it is only beginning and will improve with time. The question that jumped out at me was the cost. Nostalgia City seems like it would be expensive. For the many who could not afford it, the other tips suggested in this thread make a lot of sense.

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