Senior Shoutout – Memory Mats for Dementia Care

While today’s dementia research is seemingly leaping and bounding in terms of both prevention and treatment options, we still have more than  35.6 million people with dementia worldwide and there are 7.7 million new cases every year, according to WHO. The impacts of dementia are often heartbreaking and can be extremely difficult on loved ones caring for a family member with dementia.

To be clear, dementia is an umbrella term that describes the deterioration of nerve cells in the brain causing memory loss, lessened motor skills, behavior and mood changes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and is thought to be a contributing factor to 60–70% of dementia cases.

Luckily, there are many organizations out there who are leading the way in terms of everyday dementia care options for Alzheimer’s patients. If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, you are probably aware of the many tools needed to properly care for dementia patients. New options are on the market every day that help to bolster memory, maintain language skills, improve cognitive functions, etc.

One such company that has really put a lot of investigation and heart into its dementia care product is Memory Mats.

Memory Mats are products that work to delay the effects of memory loss by providing a personalized table mat with photos and descriptions of family members, important events, friends, etc. The idea is to use a personalized physical mat as  “reminiscing therapy” for those who may have a hard time processing who they are, the names of family members, visitors, etc.

Reminiscing therapy has many benefits including:

  1. Increase in the ability to communicate and practice self-expression.
  2. Can help alleviate depression and improve self-care.
  3. Can increase self-worth and provide a sense of achievement.
  4. Can help seniors come to terms with aging.
  5. Increased sense of belonging and acceptance by others.

Memory Mats are an amazing product for those with dementia, but especially those who are entering a senior living situation for the first time. Many Alzheimer’s facilities allow patients to bring personal belongings to their new home, but a memory mat is more than just a photo or an album; it’s an everyday reminder of one’s life. In simple terms,  a Memory Mat is a sort of cheat sheet for those that need a little reminder of who they are. While photo frames and albums may seem like a good way to remember the past, if they’re lacking an explanation, someone with Alzheimer’s may fail to see a personal connection.

Looking at a personalized photo mat with written reminders of names and faces, however, allows for a sense of recollection and more importantly, gives comfort to those who may be feeling anxious about their memory loss and current life changes. They also make for good conversational starters when entering a new living situation, allowing new residents to make friends and feel more comfortable with staff members.

Memory Mats has a great website where the mat-making process is easy to do by uploading photos and adding text. All of the mats are $20 and 10% of the total costs go towards Alzheimer’s Disease International and Alzheimer’s research.

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