“Getting to Know Me”: A Recipe for Happiness
Throughout the year, we often need to make the extra effort to feel happy and content.
People who have the ability to reflect on what makes them fulfilled and can plan accordingly, creating opportunities to enjoy such moments, are fortunate.
For example, someone who enjoys listening to live jazz music can check a newspaper or search online, perhaps using Google, to find a local live jazz event, then make the arrangements necessary to attend.
For people living with Alzheimer’s disease (or another form of dementia), the need to be happy and fulfilled is just as strong, but the symptoms of the disease can and will limit their ability to:
- Recognize the need to do what makes them feel happy and fulfilled;
- Correctly choose the most beneficial and comforting event;
- Pursue a way to make the event happen; and
- Follow through with actually attending the event.
It’s the role of the caregiver to develop ways to work around these limitations, helping the person achieve greater fulfillment.
In SALMON’s memory care program, we understand the importance of this role. When a Resident moves into one of our Tapestry neighborhoods, staff completes a comprehensive history of their interests we call “Getting to Know Me.”
This form goes far beyond simply learning about the likes and dislikes of the Resident; it asks about their past (the person’s strongest memories are from the past), about their typical daily routine (important for keeping day-to-day life familiar to them), what comforts them when they are upset, and the specific hobbies, kinds of music, particular movies and adventures that have made them most content.
Our teams create neighborhood décor and neighborhood calendars and provide support through care and familiarity of routine toward making sure each Resident has the opportunity to experience happiness as frequently as possible.
That effort translates to Residents being able to fully enjoy an entertainer playing some of their favorite show tunes; finding success when the yoga instructor guides them through a relaxation pose; or having and keeping the focus on and singing along with an old Frank Sinatra film.
If you have been lucky enough to visit one of our Tapestry neighborhoods during a spiritual service, holiday sing-along or baking event, you witnessed the Residents’ comfort, ease and enjoyment of the sparkling décor—and heard their joyous voices.