Capturing special moments with memory books


Lynda VintonPeople living with cognitive and language impairment have difficulty finding the right words as well as recalling recent events. Sometimes the words are on the tip of their tongue but remain elusive. This situation can create frustration and embarrassment.

But help is available. Speech-language pathologists evaluate and treat cognitive-communication disorders associated with dementia, stroke, mild cognitive impairment, head injury and other conditions.

At Homeland Center, we create personalized memory books to help residents communicate. These tools can foster meaningful use of language, spark memories and allow people living with impairment to engage in activities on their own and with a wide range of others.

More than 50 residents have participated in our speech therapy program to create memory books.

Memory books are written using a resident’s own words. They tell the story of the person’s early years and can focus on his or her present life. People usually have better long-term recollection than short-term memory. They might not remember that they just ate lunch, but they can tell you the name of their first-grade teacher.

In addition to the books, memory aids can include labels, personalized daily schedules, safety signs and prompts, photos and reminder cards for appointments. These tools not only aid meaningful conversation but also can spur reminiscences, bringing comfort and often a smile.

Memory aids are an essential part of daily living and safety. They can help orient a person, answer common questions that arise and provide needed reminders. When residents can communicate their wants and needs to loved ones and caregivers, they avoid becoming confused, anxious and frustrated.

Memory aids help those with cognitive and language impairment to:

• Reminisce about people and events.
• Participate in group activities.
• Remember important names, places and appointments.
• Complete daily activities and tasks unassisted.
• Engage in meaningful conversation and social interaction.
• Recall hobbies, achievements, favorite songs and recipes.
• Avoid challenging behaviors.
• Preserve their dignity and identity.

Memory books are just one tool to help with cognitive communication problems. Speech-language pathologists work closely with physicians, family members, nurses and activities staffers to treat each individual’s communication and memory deficiency needs.

Capturing special moments with memory booksHomeland Center’s two speech-language pathologists also assess and treat problems with swallowing related to aging, injury and illness.

May is Better Hearing and Speech month and a perfect time to contact us and see how we can help your loved one!

For questions about memory books or speech-language pathology, please contact Mandy Cheskis, MS CCC-SLP, or Jessica Cunningham, MS CCC-SLP. They are in the Therapy Department and can be reached at 717-221-7900, extension 2164.