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Writing a Mini Memoir for Quality Dementia Care

Posted on: Jan 02, 2021

Let me tell you about my mother, Dorothy, who passed away with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009. My mom was a charming, kind, and worldly person with a lovely British accent. She was born in Canada, spoke fluent French and pretty good German, and lived all over the world before marrying my dad, Fred, a young Air Force Captain, in 1955. My dad’s worldly experience included service as a pilot in Europe during World War 2, but most of his life had been spent on a farm outside of Decatur, Illinois. 

Opposites attract.

When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in her 70’s, like many families, we were all shocked and heartbroken. We were fortunate that she retained her loving personality (on most days) and remained “pleasantly confused” throughout her journey with dementia. 

We knew to talk to my mother about her time living in Paris, France, her love of English history and interest in the royal family, and her enjoyment in clothes and fashion. Most important, we offered her a daily pot of Earl Grey tea – a longtime ritual. Drinking her hot tea (always with milk) calmed her and helped her feel that she was at home and in a safe place. 

This family experience has helped me in my work with Christian Horizons and its innovative new Pathway Memory Support program. As part of our programming effort, we have developed new tools to support the gathering and use of life story information so that Christian Horizons associates will learn about each resident or client through materials that include:

The decline in memory is one of the greatest losses for families. These tools can help you provide the person with memory prompts that can trigger delightful stories and memories from the past. 

If you would like a copy of the Pathway Memory Support program’s “Top 10” or “Conversation Starter” cards, contact your local community or the CareLink home care program.

David Troxel, MPH, co-author of The Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care and Consultant to Christian Horizons Pathway Memory Support Program

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