Activity Ideas and Examples

Hometown News

The Story Behind This Activity

Persons with memory loss, like anyone else, may still be interested in news from a hometown (where they are not living now), or from a place where they were first married, or where they lived for a time, or a local paper with neighborhood news. Many times, such papers may not be available or the print in newspapers may be too small to read. An alternative is to go to the internet and search for a newspaper’s website. Often, at least some stories are available and can be downloaded free of charge. A good thing to do is to print a story using large (48 point) type size, with a sans serif font such as Arial (the font used in this paragraph). You can make the print bold to make it easier to read, as well.

Supplies Needed

  • Get online - Decide with the person with memory loss which newspaper(s) you wish to use for the activity, then go to a web search engine (such as Google® or Ask®)
  • Search For a newspaper - Type in the name of the city and the word “newspaper,” such as: “Hays, Kansas newspaper”. Often, this will give you a link to the site that will let you read stories from the paper.
  • Print an article - You can copy or download stories from the site. (Be sure to only use such stories with the person with memory loss for this type of activity. Do not sell or otherwise use copyrighted materials for any other purpose.)
  • Or view the article on a tablet - Another option is to have the story on a tablet such as an iPad® which allows you to enlarge the print.

Instructions

  1. Set up. Decide with the person with memory loss what types of stories they would find most interesting, and then download some stories. Make sure that the length of the story is not too long, at least at first, so that the person with memory loss will not become frustrated because they cannot remember theme of the story.
  2. Begin the activity. Invite the person with memory loss to read the story aloud to you. If at first they are hesitant, you may start by reading a paragraph aloud to them and then asking them to read the next paragraph aloud to you. You can then alternate reading paragraphs aloud or let them finish reading the story completely once they begin to read. This should be their choice.
  3. Having the person with memory loss involved from the beginning makes it more likely that they will be interested in the content of stories.
  4. You can ask questions about contents of stories, such as if the person with memory loss is familiar with the locations mentioned, families of persons mentioned, or if they have stories about the town or theme of the story.
  5. You can create an “archive” of stories that the person can go back to.

Adaptations and Variations

More Challenging.

Work with the person with memory loss to help them dictate a letter to the editor or commentary to send to the newspaper. Also, you can give the person with memory loss practice at using icons or apps to access the paper for themselves.

Less Challenging. You can read stories to the person with memory loss, and then ask them questions or ask for their comments about the story.

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