A Waterloo organization is using a new therapy to work with those suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia -- memory boxes.
"People with Alzheimer's tend to be in a vacuum,' said Cindy Anfinson, of Home Instead Senior Care. "They want to recall something but there's no point of reference."
Therapists help families and patients collect important mementos -- pictures, small toys, cherished blankets.
"What it holds is anything that will trigger a memory for anyone that is struggling with their memory," Anfinson said. "It can even be a childhood photo because they might remember a child, not as they look today, but as they looked when they were small," she said.
Anfinson has personal experience with dementia -- both her mother-in-law and father-in-law suffered from it. She said with the diagnosis, there's often fear.
"That's pretty common," she said. People are afraid, asking, 'What if I lose my mind?' Well, Alzheimer's doesn't cause you to lose your mind, just your memory."
She said the boxes are important. Anything to keep families connected.
"We aren't meant to live alone, we're meant to have relationships," she said. "I think it's really important. Don't forget those who have already forgotten so much."
There's also a smartphone app to help families. Just search "Home Instead" in the App Store or Google Play.