Quick! What do these things have in common: photos, music, and a video camera? They are all things that can be used to encourage positive interactions between your children and your caree. These suggestions can be used by anyone, not just a child and caree. Even if you don’t have children, you might enjoy them!
A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a chat here on caregiving.com and offered suggestions to one member who asked about activities for their Aunt who lives with them. Denise liked my suggestions and asked if I could write about them. I have tried to develop suggestions that are low cost, or free, can be adapted for people of different ages and activity levels, and can be done in a short amount of time or broken down to take place over several days. Although I usually say that things can be done by you and your children, depending on the age and ability level of your children, your assistance may not be needed.
Photos – There are a lot of things you can do with photos. If you have unidentified photos, you and your children can show them to your caree and ask about the pictures. You can use stickie notes to write down the information they share and attach it to the back of the photo or you can carefully number the back of each picture and write the information on a pad of paper you have handy.
If your caree has a memory problem, you can make cards with pictures of friends, family members and pets important to your caree. On each card, include the name and relationship of that person or pet to your caree. Even if your caree cannot read the card, someone else would be able to show them the picture and would know what that person’s relationship is to your caree.
If you have a lot of duplicate photos, you can turn them into a concentration game by gluing the pictures onto index cards or using an incomplete deck of cards. Turn two cards over at a time, and when you get a match, you keep those two cards. This can be played individually or competitively.
Music – This suggestion might be a good one for your children, no matter what their ages. If it’s possible, your children can interview your caree to determine what music they like. They can spend time finding out why this music is special and what memories it holds for your caree. If your caree is unable to communicate what music they liked, your children can research what music was popular during your caree’s teen years and early 20‘s or during each decade of their life. Your children can download a selection of the favorite music and create a playlist for your caree. You will likely be able to find the music on iTunes, but there are other sources as well. For example, a local public library in my area lets you download three free songs each week if you have a library card.
If you have any doubt about the impact of music on someone, watch this video. It is amazing!
You can also visit www.ximotionmedia.com for more information about Alive Inside.
Video Camera – Here’s a chance for your family’s budding reporters to shine! Let everyone work together to develop a list of interview questions. Someone can be the camera person and another person can be the reporter and interview each person in the family. A record will be made of not just your caree, but everyone in the family. Think how much fun it will be to watch each family member describe their favorite day or what they like to do in their free time, for example. After the film is edited, have a family movie night so everyone can get together and watch the finished product.
I have a lot more ideas, but I don’t want to bore you with them. If you want to know more, please let me know!