Four Memory Exercises for Alzheimer’s Patients
Princeton Health Care Center is intimately familiar with Alzheimer’s treatment in West Virginia, and we understand how important it is to find new ways of engaging an Alzheimer’s patient. We think you’ll find these four memory exercises to be useful additions to your daily interactions with a loved one or friend with Alzheimer’s.
Switch Up Everyday Tasks
From a young age, human beings learn to perform everyday activities systematically. Eventually these activities become reflexive, where there’s no need to concentrate or even think doing the activity. Beyond the benefits offered in terms of creating a routine for daily life, by focusing more on what we’re doing while we’re doing it, concentration and mental processing improves. The best way to optimize these improvements and achieve higher levels of concentration is by changing up our routine.
Occasional changes to a person’s routine can provide a big boost to memory. For example, if their day usually begins with a shower, change things up for a few days and give them breakfast first. When you take a walk with them, explore different routes. Or, if they are out of their room for a group activity, rearrange the furniture. All of these things help Alzheimer’s sufferers to eliminate old habits while increasing concentration.
Touching and Recognizing
Similar to how our sense of smell can trigger feelings and memories, the same is true for touching and recognizing. One example is to put some objects in a bag and ask the person to reach inside to touch and try to identify the objects. Without the benefit of sight, which our brain typically relies on in such situations, using touch as the identification process serves to stimulate the parts of the brain that process tactile information. This strengthens the individual’s synapses (which connect neurons) in the brain.
Use the Opposite Hand
Encourage the individual to use their less dominant hand. If they brush their teeth, write, and hold a fork in their right hand, have them switch to their left hand. This serves to stimulate the opposite side of the brain, often resulting in significant expansion in the parts of the cerebral cortex responsible for processing the sense of touch. This, in turn, can improve mental health.
Retrace Your Steps
This exercise increases concentration and observation in everyone’s short-term and long-term memory, not just Alzheimer’s sufferers. Right before the person goes to sleep, review their day starting from when they awoke. Ask them basic questions, i.e. “What did you eat?” and “Who visited you?” If they have trouble answering any of your questions, you can give hints or the answer, but have them repeat the answer themselves. Pursue this exercise in chronological order, as detailed as possible. You might encounter some difficulty during the first few attempts, but soon you’ll see just how much a “retracing of one’s daily steps” helps the individual’s ability to concentrate, visualize, and recall.
For Alzheimer’s Support, Contact Us Today
Princeton Health Care Center stands out for its experienced, caring staff and an unwavering commitment to advocacy, resources, and family support. If someone you love is suffering from Alzheimer’s, contact us today and let’s talk about how we can help.