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Kandahar memory joggers
Kandahar Home resident Eva Rolls and volunteer Liz Garden.
Kandahar Home resident Eva Rolls and volunteer Liz Garden.

Interacting with items from the past can help people with dementia to connect with the present.

That’s the reminder from Kandahar Home and Court volunteer, and former Alzheimer’s Wairarapa fieldworker, Liz Garden.

Liz, who developed a passion for helping people with memory loss after her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1990, was at Kandahar Home on Friday to run one of the Enliven home’s regular reminiscence sessions.

“I brought along a bunch of baby things from the past, such as christening dresses that are more than 100 years old, cloth nappies, baby clothes, Johnson’s baby powder, Vaseline and Vick’s Vapor Rub,” says Liz.

Residents were encouraged to share memories that were sparked by looking at, touching and smelling the collection of old baby items.

Liz says smell, touch and sight can trigger memories, which is especially beneficial for people with memory loss.

“I call them memory joggers. People love reminiscing and they have wonderful stories to tell – they just need a little prompt to get the stories out,” Liz explains.

“It’s really good to remember our childhood and chat about how things have changed. It allows us to reflect on our lives.”

Liz says interacting with the past can help people with memory loss connect to the present and communicate with those around them.

“Their faces light up when they recall fond memories. There’s usually a place in their mind that you can tap into that triggers memories. It’s just about finding it.”

Kandahar Home and sister-site Kandahar Court are both operated by Enliven, part of the not-for-profit organisation Presbyterian Support Central, and provide a full spectrum of aged care including rest home, hospital and dementia care as well as respite and health recovery.

For more information about Kandahar Home and Kandahar Court, located in Lansdowne, Masterton, freephone 0508 ENLIVEN (that’s 0508 36 54 83) or click here. 

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