Vocabulary Lessons for the Elderly and Those Suffering from Dementia
As we age, we tend to use the same vocabulary choices over and over, and, if what I surmise is correct, even those with normal mental capabilities do not continue to develop their vocabulary into and through their adult years. Of course, one learns the vocabulary which is necessary to one’s vocation…but what do we do about increasing our baseline of word usage other than that?
Having vascular dementia, I have begun to devote my free time to mental games and logic exercises. I can now add to that VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT. I must admit that this has not come about through deliberate actions. I have caught onto it through tutoring my granddaughter. I taught Language Arts for 34 years in the public school system, but never gave it much thought in regards to adults. I believe working with Cortney”s vocabulary each week has been most helpful to me. Granted, of the twenty words she is assigned each week, most I already know. Of the five or so (more or less each week) I don’t, I try to find at least one word to learn myself. I try to use that one word—and others of that week—in my weekly blog. Having short term memory loss, this is not an easy task.
One example of this occurred last week when I wrote about spotlighting deer and the mien of their faces. MIEN had been one of the vocabulary words the week before. I don’t remember ever encountering that particular word before…but found it to be an interesting word to learn and use.
This week’s word for my vocabulary enhancement is UPBRAID. (It was the only one of the twenty I did not have experience with.) UPBRAID is a verb meaning “to blame, scold, find fault with.” Including this word in this week’s blog has been somewhat of a challenge. I can’t recall having an opportunity or reason to upbraid anyone in my current life, though I do recall having to upbraid a wayward student from time to time.
When you think about it, learning new vocabulary can be fun if approached in the right way. Just memorizing a list of new words is not the way to do it. Vocabulary is meant to be spoken, experimented with, and written. It is not solely a mental exercise. It might be a fun way to improve communication with you and your loved one…a way to playfully learn together. I know for my granddaughter and me, learning new vocabulary words, their meanings and usage, can be fun and useful for both of us!