By Jennifer Clancy, Founder, Engaging at Home
Today nearly six million Americans live with dementia, and 95% of those are cared for at home by a family member. We know it’s a challenging and sometimes overwhelming experience. We understand it’s heartbreaking to watch a loved one struggle to do things that were once so easy for them. Every day, we hear from people all across the country that are searching for meaningful ways to engage their loved one. These caregivers aren’t looking for simplistic activities; they know the value of brain stimulation, and they know their persons’ history.
2021 is all about positive experiences and meaningful engagement every day for persons living with dementia. It’s time to change it all up and create a new and exciting environment built on purpose and meaning and the validation of lives well lived.
At the turn of the last century, we were still riding in horse-drawn carriages and lighting candles to see our way in the dark. In the past 100 years, the automobile and electricity have become ubiquitous – they are everywhere. At the turn of the last century, 2000, we began experimenting with autonomous vehicles, building a permanent space station, and examining a problem by “thinking outside the box.” Our world has changed. But for those living with dementia, their life story is told by visiting the past and bringing that past to the present.
To solve a problem today, we need to put ourselves in the shoes of 21st Century learners who are no longer satisfied with the way things have always been. 2021 is about new things – new ways of engaging and interacting and connecting people living with dementia with the world.
An at-home engagement program brings love, compassion, and validation to those affected by dementia and their families through learning, laughing, and creating. It is time to engage and inspire your loved one with fun, intriguing topics, and creative workshops, and ways for the whole family to participate. Revisiting and discussing familiar topics is a fun and comfortable thing to do. Let’s allow your loved one the opportunity to recall or retell life experiences and create one-of-a-kind Legacy Creative projects as gifts for family and friends.
Research has shown that there are enormous benefits associated with experience-based programming. Blending the strategies of lifelong learning and creativity provides new and fresh experiences that support tapping into the known and the unknown and celebrating big and small accomplishments.
The benefits of lifelong learning for persons living with dementia are well documented. Using adult language and terminology helps participants feel respected. Learning and creating provides opportunities for participants to make their own choices. A new excitement about a loved one’s life offers inspiration for recall, reflection, and validation for the whole family. And the best part is that an at-home program like Engaging at Home fun and enjoyable for everyone!
Engaging at Home is a way that you can celebrate a life well lived in the comfort of home. It is a program about making space for the past in the present and creating new experiences and memories. Join us in changing the way we engage and interact with those living with dementia so that they feel valued, loved, and connected—every day. Learn more at engagingathome.com.