My European relatives, friends, and potential volunteers often ask, “just what happens in a typical day” in our Memory Care facility. A year or so ago I would give lots of examples of the various activities in either the Connections or Compass program. Now I tend to preface that description with the words, “there is no such thing as a typical day”.
Every day is different. It has to be since we live in the world of people suffering with varying levels of dementia or, in some cases just mild cognitive impairment and occasionally Parkinson’s disease. For those suffering with even moderate dementia we have to accept that their world is their reality and we have to live in it. So although every day commences with a program plan and briefing from the Memory Care Specialists and Program Directors Pat and Cathee, we have to accept that changes often need to be made in a dynamic fashion. In fact, it is rare for us to complete a days program without at least one diversion or response to a new and developing situation.
This ability to be flexible and follow a new reality is one of the things that separates Memory Matters from others.
Every day is different, and not only do we flex to accommodate our Club Members needs, we deliberately plan to build variety into the programs. For example, some days will emphasize art, others will introduce news items, brain stretching puzzles, poetry, time in the courtyard garden and every day will feature music and singing. Dancing and live music is a regular feature.
As I reflect on another busy and rewarding week working on both Connections and Compass programs there is one common denominator. A vitally important ingredient that touches the heart and soul of every participant irrespective of their mind and physical condition.
Children will always cause us to laugh………a lot!
I took my nine year old Grandson Brody to Tuesday’s Compass Program and my good friend (volunteer Bob) stepped back from the “Bob and Mike in the morning” news hour and gave way to “Brody and Mike”. A casual observer would have recognized that the Club Members loved having Brody in attendance. They laughed with him and willed him to succeed in answering my Star Wars quiz with $5 riding on a 50% or more pass rate. They kindly asked if they could help him answer the questions, but Brody dominated my quiz and scored 28 out of 30, easily pocketing his Grandad’s money! They laughed at some modern children’s rhyming poems and laughed again when Grandad showed his lack of modern day technical knowledge.
Brody chose our ‘word of the day” himself. It was COUNTENANCE. The smiles and facial expressions were great and continued over to the late morning when our band entertained us and Brody led the dancing, and everyone laughed again.
The sweetest moment came when Brody invited an elderly lady to dance. The lovely lady has quite severe short term memory problems, but remarkably remembered Brody and the dancing some twenty minutes later when she told me how much fun she had enjoyed! Another mission moment!
Thursday’s Connections Club focussed on just how important “Laughter” is for our brain wellness. For the second week in a row Cathee devised an ingenious and fun task which exercised everyones imagination. The level of interaction and enjoyment was palpable as four teams constructed answers to questions posed by a volunteer regarding a 1930’s black and white photo of a marathon dancing contest. Some of the asides and answers were hilarious!
Later we saw some really amazing “slapstick” movie clips from Lucille Ball, Abbot and Costello and the Three Stooges. We laughed a lot.
Later still we laughed at Kaley The Wonder (therapy) Dog who performed some amazing tricks, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the birthday surprise for two of our Club Members, both remarkable human beings celebrating a 95th birthday in the case of the lady, and 71st for the gentleman. Oh yes, and Cathee and Pat, our Program Directors sporting the rather amusing noses!
Yes, another “typical” week at Memory Matters.
Tell the truth. Sing with passion. Work with laughter. Love with heart. ‘Cause that’s all that matters in the end.
Please share this if you believe it would help someone. Call 1 843 842 6688 Memory Matters office for more information. It’s always confidential. Consider joining our next Brain Boosters program or finding our more about our Connections program. We are a phone call away, here in your local community.