by Lauren Fallat, LPC LPAT ATR-BC
Containment is important for emotional processing and wellness because it provides a sense of safety and stability. In the context of emotional processing, containment refers to the ability to manage and regulate emotions in a way that feels safe and controlled. When individuals feel emotionally contained, they are better able to process and make sense of their emotions, leading to improved mental and emotional well-being. Memory Boxes offer emotional containment for individuals living with Dementia.
Emotional containment is particularly crucial for individuals living with dementia, as this condition often involves cognitive decline and challenges in emotional regulation. Dementia can lead to heightened emotional vulnerability and difficulty in processing and expressing feelings. In this context, emotional containment refers to creating a supportive and understanding environment that helps manage and stabilize the emotions of individuals with dementia.
Living with dementia can be disorienting and frustrating, as individuals may struggle to remember or make sense of their surroundings. Emotional containment provides a sense of security, allowing individuals to feel safe in their environment. This is achieved by promoting consistent routines, maintaining familiar surroundings, and offering reassurance during moments of confusion or distress. By minimizing external stressors and providing a predictable and supportive atmosphere, emotional containment helps individuals with dementia navigate their daily lives with a greater sense of stability.
Additionally, emotional containment involves recognizing and validating the emotions expressed by individuals with dementia. Communication may become challenging as the condition progresses, but acknowledging and responding empathetically to their emotional cues fosters a sense of connection. It's essential to approach communication with patience, understanding, and a non-judgmental attitude, creating a space where individuals feel heard and understood, even when verbal expression is limited.
Memory Box to Help Individuals Living with Dementia
In the context of dementia care, interventions like creating memory boxes play a significant role in emotional containment. These personalized boxes filled with familiar items and memories serve as a tangible connection to the individual's past, providing comfort and reassurance. The reminiscence therapy facilitated by memory boxes can evoke positive emotions, contributing to emotional containment by fostering a sense of continuity and self-recognition.
As cognitive functions wane, individuals with dementia often grapple with a diminishing sense of self. The curated items within the memory box act as mirrors reflecting fragments of their personal narrative. This journey into the past, facilitated by the tactile engagement with photographs, mementos, and other meaningful artifacts, enables a rediscovery of one's own story. It becomes a therapeutic process where self-recognition is not only encouraged but celebrated, fostering a sense of agency and self-esteem that can be otherwise elusive in the face of cognitive decline.
Creating a memory box can have a significant impact on individuals living with dementia by providing a tangible and personal connection to their past. Memory boxes are physical containers filled with items that hold sentimental value and trigger positive memories. For individuals with dementia, these memory boxes can serve as a form of external memory support, helping them access and recall positive experiences from their past. In reliving cherished moments and connecting with their personal history, individuals with dementia experience a reassuring link to their identity that transcends the challenges of the present.
Overall, memory boxes can serve as a therapeutic tool, providing individuals with dementia a tangible link to their past and offering comfort and reassurance in the present. In the next blog post we will explore ways that you can create a memory box for a loved one living with dementia in part 2 of this blog post series.