Using our sense memories is a great way to stimulate cognition and delightful conversation. Talk to your family member about past experiences, guiding the conversation by each of the five senses. For example, sound: What was your favorite sound in that Elm Street house? Was it the tick of a certain clock? The sound of the garage door signalling Mom coming home? The chimes by the back door? Or, sight: What about our trips home from LA? Maybe seeing the Madonna Inn sign on the highway when we were just about home. It was so brightly colored. Wasn’t that old ball our dog loved so much bright yellow? You just couldn’t get her to part with it. Think of the conversation as a greatest hits list of the senses; your favorite sights, sounds, smells, tastes, things to touch. Go through each of the senses to recall a special memory and stay with it for a moment. Enjoy it together. Try to experience each fully, attempt to again taste, see, feel, hear, and smell within each memory. You are sure to spark memories and laughter!
Taco Tuesday anyone? Grab your activity partner and plan a taco night for social and sensory stimulation. A typical shopping list would include the following ingredients: protein source (chicken, ground beef, ground turkey or veggies), tortillas, taco seasoning packet, avocados to make guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, salsa and any other side dishes of choice (rice, beans, and chips are good options). Together, take a trip to the grocery store and purchase the items. Once back at the house, turn some music on and do some cooking! Ask your activity partner for assistance in chopping the veggies, sauteeing the meat, making the guacamole and setting the table. Once all the items are prepared, make your tacos and reminisce! How does it taste? What is your favorite type of taco? Why not make this a weekly tradition? Plan the next time you will enjoy this taste bud delight!
As we launch the Hummingbird Project in Los Angeles, we are really excited to introduce you to the team! Meet Victoria Hernandez!
Victoria found her passion for helping others while working as a massage therapist over the past 11 years. She volunteered her time at the VA medical center helping veterans with pain management using touch and aromatherapy. At the VA hospital she discovered recreation therapy and decided to leave her hometown to pursue her MS degree in Recreation. Victoria continued to volunteer at her local VA hospital in Long Beach and completed her internship at the Blind Rehabilitation Center helping veterans with vision impairment through therapeutic recreation. She has since found her purpose helping others with varying ranges of ability. Her curious and adventurous personality leads her to discover new hobbies such as sewing, playing music, roller skating, and finding new places to travel. She believes it’s never too late to pick up a new leisure activity or rediscover old ones.
For more information and a complimentary consultation, please email email@example.com.
Experiencing isolation and loneliness is common for the elderly. Feeling detached from other people is especially difficult during this time of social distancing. As happens when we are alone, thoughts may spiral downward, leaving us to ruminate on negative things about ourselves, others, and the world in general. Providing support to those isolated can be easily administered by making a list of their positive traits and qualities in your virtual time together. Remind them of their wonderful characteristics you are aware of and share stories of how they affect the world positively. Make a list to help remind yourself of all the wonderful things you possess. Coach your loved one to keep the list handy for a simple reminder of what they bring to the table. Encouraging generations that are unfamiliar with tooting their own horn is… freeing!!!
Nature plays a fundamental part in all of our lives. Trees in particular. We have all had profound relationships with trees. With anxiety running high, this is a great time to take a moment to contemplate our relationship with nature by reflecting on trees we have known and loved. Start an in depth conversation with your family member about a tree that is special to them. Maybe one they grew up with or one they currently enjoy. Talk about that tree’s attributes in detail. What do they like about it? Is it a provider of shade? Is it strong? Does it flower? Then ask them to contemplate whether they share any of the attributes of that tree. How are they a provider? How are they strong? How do they flower? By helping them to own these qualities they will experience a calming connection with the natural world. If they like they can follow up with a drawing of the tree which will serve as a metaphor enhancing this sense of well being for days to come.
When unable to be there in person, connecting with older adults virtually maintains interaction and friendship. Knowing a person’s interest is key to providing enthusiasm. Researching their favorite interest before your time together allows solid preparation for tailor-made sessions. Do not fret if you have shown a video or read the same article previously, as we all enjoy our special interest more than one time; it’s like touching base. At the same time, expand the activity by introducing new people and information about the subject manner. One special person we have spent time with with is calm, grounded, and enthused the minute we converse about baseball. Not only have we tapped into his special interest, but new, unexpected and valuable information about this person comes to the surface! Bringing a person’s special interest to them shows that you care and know who they are. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!
While staying at home, grab your activity partner and do some baking with a healthy purpose! When is the last time you baked some goods for a friend or family member? Baking can support one’s sensory quality of life needs as well as being therapeutic for one’s physical and mental well-being. Using a recipe that is healthy can also make one feel that they are contributing to their health in a positive way. Together with your activity partner look up a recipe and gather the necessary ingredients. During the activity stop and have a short discussion about the food items used and how they could be beneficial to one’s health. After the goodies have been baked, take a moment to savor the smell and taste mindfully and then share your thoughts and share your treats!
Currently, for the safety of everyone, taking extra precaution includes washing hands frequently to prevent the spread of disease. This continuous routine could be challenging for people who experience dementia. Helping those that may not remember to adopt this important habit is necessary for not only them but also to those that assist them. Preparing reminders and sending them to your loved ones home is the first step to combat the spread of unwanted germs. Assist them during your virtual time together by coaching them where to hang the reminders up. Share a song that they like to sing while washing their hands. Lastly, demonstrate the correct way to wash your hands. Everyone needs reminders, let’s help those who may need an extra one!
The Hummingbird Project is implementing virtual and remote activity sessions to mitigate the negative impact of social isolation on older adults, especially for those with behavioral expression of unmet needs who are struggling. We are eager to use our creativity to help support your client and/or loved ones and enhance quality of life during this difficult time! As such, we are offering reduced rate options and easy to initiate services for remote activity sessions. We look forward to being of service during this time of crisis when compassion, therapeutic support, engagement and joy are needed more than ever! To initiate services, please contact Tiffany Paige Ramirez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-990-7944.
Sessions can be conducted in a number of unique and creative ways:
- Virtual Video Conferencing: Using Zoom, Facetime, etc. we can offer popular activities such as guided virtual museum tours, intellectual stimulation, live musical concerts, art lessons, and more. Let’s bring Hummingbird magic into the home of isolated seniors across the nation!
- Phone Programming: We are pleased to provide the same quality of life activities usually presented in person. This might include legacy projects, oral history projects, lifelong learning, gratitude, spiritual devotion, verbal brain games, storytelling, and much more.
- Mail Order Activity Kits: Kit activities come with detailed instructions and engaging materials, so your client or loved one can feel confident as they begin exploring new experiences at the time and pace that works for them.
- Social Isolation Activity Plans: We recommend the creation of a social isolation activity plan for each person, which will include a schedule of activities, ideas, and ways to stay connected based on the individual’s life story and interests. We can create and send you this, and you or a family member can then implement as needed.
- Joyful Moments: Quality of life activities like those you’ll find in Joyful Moments therapeutic activity cards help reconnect older adults to what brings them purpose, joy, and meaning in life. You’ll find step-by-step instructions and suggested adaptations for activities that cover all seven domains of quality of life: Physical, Spiritual, Intellectual, Creative, Vocational, Emotional and Environmental. Available online for $24.95 + shipping. Includes a 30 minute complimentary consultation and free tips and tricks handout on how to get started! Click here to order today!
Director of The Hummingbird Project