Dementia is a form of mental health illness that causes memory loss. People with dementia experience feelings of isolation and disconnectedness from their families.
Fortunately, storytelling is an effective way to bond with people with mental health issues. It can help reduce stress, loneliness, and melancholy.
Beyond these, family storytelling improves the social connection between healthy members and members with mental health issues. In this article, we explore the benefits of family storytelling for people with dementia.
The Place and Purpose of Family Storytelling for People with Dementia
The most crucial aspect of storytelling is helping family members with dementia to recall things without the pressure of remembering the facts.
Even better is when families create this platform for creating and reimagining treasured memories and stories.
The art of family storytelling will encompass sharing with your loved ones memories and stories in pictures, music, and videos. These have multiple cognitive benefits and boost social interactions.
1. Bonding with Their Family Members
People with mental health problems such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease tend to suffer from moderate to severe cognitive issues. At times, they can completely forget their family members. Demanding a mental health patient to recall everybody can be stressful and might cause a total shutdown.
However, family storytelling can help them remember their relatives.
Recovering memories of your family members is the first step towards connection. After individuals with dementia recall their relatives, they will start remembering their likes, dislikes, and other associated memories. The relationship between people with dementia and their relatives begins with family storytelling.
2. Improves Communication and Saves Memory
Mental health issues like dementia can break down family communication and discourage social interactions. Dementia patients withdraw from their families because it is humiliating not to recall basic things.
For example, dementia patients can forget how to cook an egg, tie their shoelaces, or even their names. When this happens, it lowers their self-esteem, leading to isolation from the rest of the family.
Stories about familiar events can trigger dementia patients to regain their memory. For instance, a cooking story can help a dementia patient to recall how to cook a particular recipe. Family stories can trigger dementia patients to remember the names of their family members.
Family storytelling goes beyond creating memory legacy. If you can build custom family stories around lifetimes, family events, and special memories, it helps to jog their memory. Consider using family and photo apps for digital family storytelling where they can access these memories easily, if need be, by their caregivers.
3. Improves the Mood of Dementia Patients
It is typical for dementia patients to withdraw from family and live in depression and isolation. Listening and reminiscing on family stories in digital time capsules can improve their moods significantly.
Furthermore, digital time capsules can restore the memory of dementia patients giving them a sense of achievement and promoting self-esteem. With these digital capabilities, family stories saved in digital time capsules help people with dementia to create social connections and minimize their solitude.
4. Family Storytelling Relaxes People with Dementia
Dementia patients experience reminiscence. They can recall things that happened ages ago but forget recent occurrences. Storytelling triggers reminiscence in people with dementia.
A story about something or someone familiar can aid a dementia patient to remember memories. Displaying pictures of a holiday trip during a conversation can help dementia patients relive the moments. Recalling good old memories can soothe irritated patients and help them relax.
In this situation, storytelling is an ideal way to help people with dementia relax, especially when stressed.
In addition to memory loss, individuals with dementia suffer from loneliness, depression, and low self-esteem. Family storytelling is one way for dementia patients to connect and communicate with their family members.