Memory Care Guide

Creating Meaning and Purpose

As your loved one experiences memory loss and can no longer make decisions with confidence, they begin to depend on you more and more. However, dependency takes a toll on self-esteem.

To balance this delicate situation, particularly during the early stages of memory loss, encourage your loved one to cultivate life skills. These are skills we all develop and use - things that provide a sense of purpose, accomplishment and individuality.


Identify Skills

What activities did your loved one once enjoy? Did they have hobbies or an occupational skill they can still use? Life skills may include painting, sculpting, storytelling, gardening, caring for pets or simply handling household chores. Look for skills that tap into your loved one’s implicit or procedural memory. Once you find a life skill that your loved one treasured, encourage them to use it regularly.

Cultivate Skills

Get your loved one involved in an interest group for older people, or urge them to lead one of their own. Encourage them to use their life skills whenever possible – not only will it stimulate them mentally, but it will also give their days a new purpose.

Connect at Meal Times

Meal times help carers connect with a loved one and nurture their spirit as well as their body. They also provide an opportunity to engage life skills and help your loved one to maintain a sense of security, purpose and meaning.

  • Allow for preferences. Offer your loved one a balanced meal, while providing their favourite foods as often as possible. Encourage them to help select food items, particularly if cooking was a life skill they enjoyed.
  • Keep it simple, yet familiar and dignified. Elaborate table settings can confuse a person with memory loss. Use contrasting colours and encourage independence where possible.