We have recently been developing a number of memory-based therapy games and exercises at Safe Haven, to help stimulate thinking, focus and memory, and the results have been extremely positive and encouraging.

A benefit of these types of activities is that they are a great way to counteract other issues, such as anxiety and frustration, as they enable clients to stay calm and concentrate on the matter at hand, while at the same time taking their minds off of any others worries they may have.

For the therapies to work really well, the activities should ideally be based around a subject or hobby that the person is really passionate about. An example of such that is working well with a number of our clients is a music and song exercise, aimed at getting the memory working. The client picks an old song that they really like, and then tries to remember the words. If the client has an understanding of modern technology, we often source the video on an iPad, so they can watch the song being performed by their favourite artist. This can really bring the song alive, triggering further memories and reminiscence-based discussions. Alternatively, we use song sheets, CDs and vinyl records.

For a person who has a love of card games, but may have lost the ability to play the games they used to enjoy, a pack of playing cards is an excellent way to focus on thinking and memory skills. The exercises we initiate with the cards are loosely based around card numbers and suits, but the way the game develops is left in the hands of the client, as this will result in better concentration for longer periods.

We encourage the client to lay the cards onto the table in the format that they choose. Many will follow the obvious route of putting the cards in straight forward number or suit order, while others will find their own links and patterns between the cards. We find that if the card exercises are carried out on a regular basis, the client will be able to gradually concentrate for longer periods, and the games can also become more complex. However, if the client is showing little interest, never force the issue as this defeats the object of the therapy.

We find that memory-based therapies work best on a one-to-one basis, or in small groups, as we are aiming to increase the confidence and self-esteem levels of all our clients at Safe Haven. Larger group activities can often make this more difficult, as certain personalities will naturally take the lead, hence pushing the quieter or more withdrawn clients away.

For more information about our memory-based activities, please call 01494 854 399 or email us at: enquiries@safehavendementiacentre.co.uk