How the World Around Us Interacts with Our Memories
by Emilio Solorzano,
PAC Technical Support
When your favorite song comes on the radio, what’s the first thing you typically do? Scream out, “I love this song!” and pretend you’re a backup singer with an invisible microphone of course! But why is that? Is it because when you first heard it, you were having the time of your life with someone you care about?
Regardless of the reason, our brains have the incredible ability to link memories from long ago with events happening in real time. We’re not limited to just the sounds we hear though. Seeing a bright red Jetta can remind you of the exact moment when you drove yours off the dealer lot. Or walking into a friend’s house and smelling warm, fresh apple pie can transport you back to your grandma’s kitchen table. Memories can be powerful, useful tools in dementia care when used skillfully.
My favorite example of this is when a person living with dementia is lost in a moment of time that happened long ago and is struggling with events happening in the here and now. Using their warm, fond memories can help redirect their feelings of anxiety and help fuel a trip down memory lane.
A skilled care partner is able to ask questions such as, “Tell me more about it,” or “Show me what you do with it.” Using questions is the key to helping someone remember events or actions that happened in the past. Once you have that info on hand, you can then tailor your response and lead the conversation in the direction you want to go.
Memories can be fun to reminisce about when our favorite song comes on, but when skillfully partnered with discerning questions, they can make a world of difference for someone living with dementia.
Emilio Solorzano became acquainted with Teepa Snow and PAC when he started working at Pines of Sarasota back in 2016. Watching Teepa do her thing in-person really opened his eyes to what dementia is and what it does to our loved ones. Since then, his awareness on dementia has only grown along with his appreciation for all the amazing work the talented PAC team has accomplished prior to coming aboard.