Our memories are a primary determinant of who we are as people. Our values, ethics, and priorities are all products of lessons learned over our entire lifetime. It is memory (be it conscious, subconscious, or a combination of both) that define who each person is today and frames who they will be tomorrow. It is our intent at every Spring Arbor Living location to strengthen memory retention of our dear residents who suffer from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
Every memory in life, every experience we undergo, effects who we are no matter how insignificant the experience may seem. Every person you meet or pass on the street becomes a part of you even if you only glimpse at him or her for a second. This is true, for even if you do not consciously recall their presence.
We can consider a memory as a fraction of our being. Every time we remember an environment, situation, or emotion, that memory enters our existence and becomes part of us forever. To think of this in another way, you can think of each memory as a person. Some people pass right by, only affecting you for a second, but SOME, stick around for a long time. You may not see that person every day, however, every time you see that person you re-experience their company, and they become a greater part of you. A memory is like a person that is still in your life, and even though we may not think about it every day, memory keeps us company. Dementia suffers are at maximum need for company.
Remembering a traumatic experience is something that is very difficult to deal with. However, that memory does not always have to be negative, as one can look at it as a way they learned and grew. When we are unable to handle the memory, or the experience, that is when it begins to tear us apart. Dementia patient caregivers need to work exceptionally hard to identify the positives embedded with traumatic memories and labor to reinforce those positives. Unfettered emphasis on negative thought is damaging to the psyche, the soul, and the brain.
This is why your Spring Arbor Living staff invests so much time and energy blogging about various mental exercises. We seek to empower dementia patient caregivers with a means to help promote memory retention. It makes all of us richer human beings.