Joy Fox gave me the idea for this memory exercise.
Basically, you write a short story, about four typewritten lines with lots of content, names, numbers, lists of items, places, etc.
When I do this exercise in the nursing home with a group of people I read the story aloud twice, and then ask lots of questions on the content. For example: "Who is the story about? What age is the person? What did they do? etc.
We have done this on a weekly basis for some time now and it is great to see the whole group sitting up in their seats, leaning forward and really concentrating when I read. Many of the residents taking part are a lot faster and more accurate in their recollection now than they were when we started doing this exercise some months ago, so it definitely shows that memory and concentration can be trained.
Sometimes I encourage the group to create the story.
I will ask them questions to trigger the content, like ‘give me two names’, ‘what is their relationship to each other?’, where did they go yesterday’? ‘what did they do?’, ‘at what time?’ etc. When I have enough information I write the story out at home and present it to them a few days later.
It makes for a good feeling when the group members have creative input into activities.
Here are a couple of short story examples:
Mrs Jackson and Mrs Davies have been best friends for 40 years. They live in Greenhills Road in Washington. Their favorite pastimes are going for walks and gardening. Mrs Davies has a large garden and in it, they grow strawberries, carrots, peas, tomatoes, and melons. Mrs Jackson and Mrs Davies make jams and preserves with their harvest.
Liam and Robert are cousins. Liam is 8 years old and Robert is 9. Last Tuesday they went with their Aunt Sally in her car to a riding school for their first lesson. It started at three o’clock. Liam’s horse was named Trotter and Robert’s was named Patch. They enjoyed their ride and will come back next week.
Let your imagination run loose on this exercise! Maria
How you might use this activity:
Along with a caregiver / activity director for the following:
One-on-one activity, make up stories together and test the memory.
Group activity, make up stories together and test the memory.
Early stage memory care / dementia, make up stories together and test the memory.
Middle stage memory care / dementia, make up stories together and test the memory. You may have to give some extra clues to the answers.