Just talking about the subjects below can bring back memories, sensations and feelings that are positive, rewarding and enjoyable to revisit or visit afresh in your company. There is no way of predicting the conversations that can take off from these starters and only two or more people can make the chemistry of communication happen. This can bring pleasures unchartered!
Subjects covered in this Stimulating Conversation flip book are: Childhood, Scenery, Holidays, Romance, Pets, Education, World War II, Language, Society, Family, Unique Stories, Health, The Arts [Theatre, Cinema, Music, Art, Objects] Friends, Games and Sport, Culture, Places and Discussion and Reflections on Life.
Read the body language and facial messages of the person you care about and converse with. Take the cues if they want to steer the conversation. Never feel you have a right to an answer or a dialogue as it is their choice. A genuine attitude of interest and kindliness can make this meaningful for both of you. For some people who are private by nature these starters may feel intrusive or be unwelcomed so it is vital to take your lead from them. It may just be the wrong time but it is always worth trying until you are clear that there is a rejection of your interest. See Stimulating Conversation flip book below. Full responsibility is taken for subjective image choice. Click link at bottom of document to download as a PDF file.
Scroll right down for further ideas.
The conversations started from some of these beginnings could go into a life story album that you make up and that may lead to pleasure and memory making. It might stimulate their desire to write parts of their own autobiography. Pick out relevant photos and stick them in. If Cornwall was their favourite holiday destination but they have no photos then just google imagery of Cornwall. You could create a Pinterest account. There is a wealth of imagery to choose from. Involve them in all choices if possible. This album should not feel imposed upon them, more a gift. If they don’t want to be involved in its creation then do it for them. You may find you have the best mind for planning the layout and sequencing events! You could record your conversations and write sections out into their album.
The message behind the album and these conversations is that the person’s life and perceptions are still important and can be enshrined in something tangible. These dialogues might lead to changes in their current reality. A conversation about their love of cooking or gardening could lead to a renewed engagement with it, if at a different level than before. What does it matter if you are stirring the soup rather than making it, if the feelings that arise are pleasant ones? The themes in this album could be inspiration for topics in a Reminiscence/Reflection Group. See Later Life Downloads and Reminiscence Groups.
The life story album can also be a reminder for other professionals involved in your loved one’s life of the whole person they are visiting even if there is much out of sight. Get access through the internet to anything inspired by the conversation you have; there you will find poetry read aloud, their favourite music, videos of favourite places, versions of theatrical productions and even films. See Later Life Poetry, Art and Music Section.
Laurence Aegurter’s website into how visual stimulation in the form of dual images can be used to give a positive experience and stimulate minds and memories for those suffering from dementia is well worth looking at here.