- Posted August 5, 2014 by
Aunt With Dementia Teaches Nieces How To Communicate With Her
Teaches Nieces How to Communicate With Her
It was a sad day when Barbara Brock and Trudie Sonnenberg’s elderly Aunt was admitted to a nursing home because she was no longer safe home alone. Their Aunt’s dementia had advanced to the stage of needing assistance and care.
When family members started visiting their Aunt at the nursing home they often found her to be anxious, frustrated and sometimes angry. Needless to say, their visits were stressful for their Aunt as well as for them.
One day when Barbara went to visit her Aunt she decided to take some old family photos with her in hopes of getting her Aunt to reminisce about some of the people and events in the pictures. When Barbara arrived she found her Aunt in an agitated mood. Barbara reached in her purse, took out the old family photos and began showing them to her Aunt. As they looked at the pictures together her Aunt’s mood changed immediately. She went from being agitated to a mood of peacefulness and interest. They both had a wonderful visit that day.
The sister’s learned that their Aunt’s long term memory was good. She could name most family members in the old photos and she shared stories about family reunions and get-to-gathers she had enjoyed years ago. But after reviewing the old family photos time after time their visits became stagnate. Their Aunt would still look at the old family photos but didn’t seem to be as stimulated by them as she was the first few times she saw them.
Trudie decided the next time she visited their Aunt she would take some more recent family photos. They became aware that their Aunt’s short term memory was the most affected by her memory disease when she didn’t recognize family members in the more current photos. This visit turned out to be frustrating for both of them.
The sisters needed to find others things to talk about with their Aunt. Something that would produce the same mood changing affects like the old family pictures did. They decided to create a picture book featuring home-spun photos that had common themes to see if these types of pictures would relieve their Aunt’s bouts of anxiety, frustration and fear. They were also searching for a way to spark her interest and create conversations they both could enjoy.
They choose popular topics and sometimes used nostalgic pictures. They wrote easy to read, positive story lines below each picture in hopes that this format would serve as conversation starters between them and their Aunt. It Worked! It was amazing to watch their Aunt’s mood change to one of pleasant comments, smiles and even laughter. Their Aunt was revealing to them what she enjoyed and how much information she could understand as they looked and talked about the various pictures
and stories. In actuality she was teaching them how to communicate with her.
Barbara and Trudie were so excited about how the pictures affected their Aunt’s mood that they decided to create books that individuals could use to enhance their visits with elderly loved ones. Their mission was to develop a way to communicate with the elderly, experience enjoyable visits and stimulate their brains in the process.
They titled their book “Memory Connections For You and Me” and plan to publish a series of books. The sisters have published four books. Each book contains three popular themes accompanied by interesting, positive story lines. For example book one contains themes about Dogs, Hats and Flowers. They used their books when they visited their Aunt and were awed by how the pictures and story lines ignited memories for her, plus engaged them in pleasant conversations. The picture themes served as conversation starters. “Memory Connections For You and Me” opened up avenues of communication that they all enjoyed. Using these structured picture themes and short story lines may enhance everyone’s visit with elderly individuals.
Each visit created a treasured memory for Barbara and Trudie. The sisters looked forward to their visits with their Aunt. The books provided opportunities for their Aunt to share heartfelt stories about her life and also gave her the chance to express her opinions about the picture themes. Barbara and Trudie are so thankful that they discovered a way to spend quality time with their Aunt. A special way, that their Aunt helped them discover and God guided them to create. It is their hope that their “Memory Connections For You and Me” books will help other people experience a loving way of staying connected as all of us age. These unique books are a very simplistic, inspiring way to communicate with elderly loved ones.
Many family members seem to run out of things to talk about when they visit their elderly loved ones. Often people are at a loss of how to communicate with those who have memory problems. Their visits sometimes turn out to be more frustrating than friendly and enjoyable. After a number of stressful visits some people don’t visit as regularly as they once did or worse yet some individuals give up trying to visit and communicate with loved ones all together.
Barbara Brock and Trudie Sonnenberg have worked in the field of aging for 20 years. Mrs. Brock, a published research author, is the owner of Communication Art Inc. Her company has developed, researched and published dementia related resource tools.
The company specializes in health education about Alzheimer’s, other types of dementia and it’s dementia specific resource tools. One of the published tools is the Reality Comprehension Clock Test (RCCT). It was created by Mrs. Brock and standardized in 1999. It is an in-depth cognitive assessment that identifies elderly, memory impaired individuals’ remaining cognitive skills, stage of their dementia, risk of fall and more. Mrs. Brock is a national and state speaker on behalf of Communication Art, Inc.
Mrs. Sonnenberg has worked alongside her sister and has been a part of the development of the company’s dementia resource tools. She is the company’s Communication Director and Co-Author of “Dementia Populations Gift of Purpose” programs. It is a curriculum of brain exercises designed for individuals who are experiencing Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.
Communication Art, Inc. has always been based on faith in God and strives to live by this scripture each day.
1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
“Memory Connections For You and Me” books can be purchased by calling Communication Art, Inc. - 419-865-6131.
Or you can download an order form from the company’s web site at: www.clocktestrcct.com
Fax the completed order form to 419-861-3219 or scan the form and email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
To speak directly to the authors call them at Communication Art, Inc. 419-865-6131
The sister are available for speaking presentations.
Dogs, Hats, Flowers Baseball, Birds, Fishing Football, Halloween, Thanksgiving Snow, Christmas, Valentine’s Day