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The Treasure of your Life, Howest University College West Flanders

People with dementia are often confronted with the boundaries of their abilities. The cognitive deterioration (the roll-up of the long term memory) and the associated changes in emotions and verbal communication, often leads to a strong feeling of fear. Unknown environments and persons, new events, changes in what they are used to,… can cause this. Safe and familiar surroundings on the other hand have a relaxing effect on people with dementia. This is the key element of reminiscence. Recalling memories from the far away past, which usually are well stored in case of dementia, offers the familiarity that these people are looking for in the chaos of new stimuli. Reminiscence empowers the person with dementia and emphasizes their unique life story. Also family members can use reminiscence in daily communication or in activities with their beloved ones with dementia. Unfortunately, up till now informal caregivers are often not given the essential information about communicative changes, the advantages of reminiscing and about the impact of dementia on their relationship. This qualitative research project, that carries the name ‘de schat van je leven’ (‘the treasure of your life’), invites informal caregivers to explore the rich life story of a person with dementia by giving them tools for reminiscence. The result of this research project is the book ‘the treasure of your life’. It consists of three separate parts (information book, theme book, lifestory book), as well as a website full of pictures and home videos of the twentieth century.

An initiative of Howest, University of Applied Sciences: Kennispunt Mantelzorg (Knowledge Point Informal Caregiving - nursing education).


Herlinde Dely

Project partners: Flanders Centre of Expertise on Dementia, Alzheimer Liga Vlaanderen (Flemish Alzheimer’s Association), Belgian Red Cross Flanders, the House of Alijn, King Baudouin Foundation, Province of West Flanders, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

kennispuntmantelzorg@howest.be


 



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