Dementia Does Not Mean Unhappy

Even at Support For Home, where we provide service to many clients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, sometimes we get reminders that stimulate us to be more creative and focused on making our clients’ lives better.

In prior posts, we have talked about the value of exercises, like Tai Chi, and the use of Wii games for seniors, for both socialization and physical health.  We are big believers in such engagement.  But, this weekend, we got a bit of a twist on that.

My co-owner at Support For Home is from Singapore.  Last year, a grade school friend of hers visited us for about 6 weeks, and we had a lot of fun, including introducing her to Wii (My wife cheats at bowling, by the way.  It is the only possible way she can beat me as badly as she always does.).  Well, today is her friend’s birthday, and we bought her a Wii and had it shipped to her home in Singapore.  She got it a couple of days ago.

Why is this meaningful, in our elder care context?  Well, our friend’s mother has fairly serious dementia, combined with depression.  She can be quite difficult for our friend and her maid (yes, I am jealous, she has a live-in maid!).

So, when our friend set up the Wii and started playing, her mother got very interested and engaged.  She is now enjoying the Wii probably as much as our friend is, which is great for her, great for our friend and great for the maid, who is the primary caregiver during the day.

So, the lesson is, with folks with dementia, keep trying to find something that makes them smile, makes them want to participate, to engage.  It may not be a Wii.  Maybe it is a walk.  Maybe it is gardening.  Maybe it is re-runs of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts.  Maybe it is puzzles from folks like MemoryGames.  Maybe it is music concerts.  Whatever it is, you will find it.  When you do, enjoy it and enjoy your loved one.

Happy searching and best wishes.  Bert


2 responses to “Dementia Does Not Mean Unhappy

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  2. Computer games are becoming a major project for researchers of late. Personal experience has shown how computer games and Internet access for social correspondence can make a big difference in the life of a seniors citizen especially if they are limited in mobility. Games offer a vast number of health benefits especially when dealing with depression relating to loneliness, boredom or a lack of communication with family and friends. Never downplay the importance of a good challenging game.


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