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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fall activities and dementia

There are many types of activities that can be done in the fall with those who have dementia. Many of the activities can be done with other long term care residents as well

Activity Director Today displays activities for September, October and November, all of which are done in the fall

For example:
school begins in the fall
There are all sorts of activities related to going to school
The song School Days is a nice way to begin an activity based on going to school

Check back for more

Friday, August 28, 2015

How to Celebrate Grandparents Day with Those Who Have Dementia (part 2)

Activities directors and other healthcare professionals here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two

Get your subscription to Activity Director Today's e magazine

There are many activities that both the dementia person and children enjoy.

*Look at family pictures and recall the stories that go with them. Of course, you would have told the child that he may hear the same story several times. If you do not have old family photos or have not organized them yet, use this book, Adorable Photographs of Our Baby-Meaningful, Mind Stimulating Activities and More for the Memory Challenged, their Loved Ones and Involved Professionals, by Susan Berg. It not only has cute conversation stimulating baby pictures, but activity ideas related to the photos are suggested. It is an excellent dementia resource

*Sing familiar songs together. Patriotic songs are ideal because most people, young and old, know them. Some good songs are: America, America the Beautiful, and God Bless America

 *Movie suggestions are: any Shirley Temple movie, Judy Garland movies including, The Wizard of Oz, and The Sound of Music.

*Have a snack or meal together. Everyone loves ice cream.

*Make an old family favorite recipe together. Then eat it

*Go for a ride. Because gasoline prices are high and attention spans are short, a short trip is best.

So this Grandparents day, September 7, include a loved one with dementia and a grandchild in a lovely experience for both.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Perfect gift ideas for people with dementia

You as activities directors, other healthcare professionals and caregivers will be buying or suggesting gifts for people with dementia

Here are a few grand suggestions:

First on the list of gifts for people is a book by Susan Berg called Adorable Photographs of Our Baby -- Meaningful, Mind-Stimulating Activities and More for the Memory Challenged, Their Loved Ones and Involved Professionals, This book features baby photographs that seniors with dementia love. This book shares a plethora of idea sand resources for you.

Another gift a dementia person will fancy is a classic musical video or DVD. Your mother will enjoy watching something from the good old days and singing the songs played throughout the picture.Here are a few suggestions: Singin’ in the Rain, Meet Me in St. Louis, or Shall We Dance

Next is a sing a long CD or audio cassette of their favorite songs. There is a series of these called, Old Time Favorites by Nancy Pitkin

You may want to get a sing a long video where you loved one can see and hear performers singing songs they love. A good one is, Sing-Along with Phil Bernardi: Songs We Know and Love

Here is another idea. Give some hand lotion. Any kind will do. Just be aware of any allergies or pain issues she might have. If she can tolerate it, those with a pleasant scent work well. Give her a relaxing hand massage talking about how good the hand massage feels and maybe about the good old days, as well

If you cannot afford or do not have time to get these gifts, give the gift of yourself. No matter how hard it is for you to visit mom, she will appreciate your company even though she may not be able to express it. Take her for a walk, sing some of your favorite songs together, give her a hand massage. Just share some quality time with her. Both of you will feel better. Do remember to be upbeat animated and excited about visiting. No arguing, please. .

A phone call or a card will do if there is no way you can visit in person. At least they will know you are thinking of them. Then visit on another day.

So no matter what you do, do not forget people with dementia because it will make you and them feel good. What could be better than that!

Order any of the products mentioned in the article at Order the book, Adorable Photographs of Our Baby -- Meaningful, Mind-Stimulating Activities and More for the Memory Challenged, Their Loved Ones and Involved Professionals, at Amazon or at Activity Directors Network

Monday, August 24, 2015

A creative activity for those with dementia

Activities directors, caregivers, and healthcare professionals,here is some great information

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care  professionals to get an easyceu or two

Follow alzheimersideas on twitter

The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle Edition]

Get your subscription to Activity Director Today's e magazineAlzheimer's Activities Expert

Here is an activity was posted on the September issue of Activity Director Today a while back

Engaging in creative endeavors is vital for long term care residents. It is an important
way to keep them thinking. It keeps their minds working and raises self esteem.

One such activity that easily encourages creativity, I call, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This is an easy activity to do as long as you have the right picture for participants to describe and the right frame of mind to facilitate the discussion of the picture. As with any activity you need to adapt and modify it so that it is success oriented and failure free.

Use a picture that is colorful with large, easy to describe items, that interests your audience.

Baby photographs are one type of picture that seems to have universal appeal for nursing home residents especially those with dementia. an ideal book and flash cards Adorable Photographs of Our Baby

You act as the facilitator in some cases. Be ready to help the participants with discussion questions

Before you show the person(s) the picture, tell them you are going to help them write a
story about a picture because you know they are smart and have good ideas.

Now you are ready to show the picture(s) to the members of the group. As you ask the
questions, make sure you show the picture to the participant(s) that you are directing
the questions to. You or someone in the group can be the eyes for visually impaired
participants. However, you will see that the discussion may take on a life of its own
where the picture may not even be needed. Think of the picture as a story starter

You might begin with the question, “Do you like this picture?”

If the majority of the audience says, “No”, use a different one. It is important to have at
least two pictures available in case this happens.

Now that you have a picture most group members like, you want to ask a series of
questions about it.

As you ask the questions about the picture, note any remarkable responses. That is,
statements about the picture that will make the story interesting. Remember to assist
members of the audience with answers to questions by providing the help they may

For example, if they are having trouble deciding what season is shown in the picture,
talk about the seasons of the year, by asking them to name the seasons. If they are
having trouble, give them a choice of two. If there is still some confusion, say that the
baby and the lady are wearing swimsuits. Ask about the season that swimsuits are
worn in etc.

Understand that you can ask any question that you want to, which will help facilitate the

You may have to give two choices for an answer to a question if you do not get any
response from an open ended question. An example to the question, “How is he
feeling”, might be: “Is he happy or sad?” If you still don’t get a response, then say, “I
think he is happy because he is smiling. Do you agree (say the participant’s name)?”
Then you might extend the thought by asking about the baby’s face. There is a good
chance a participant may say that the baby is smiling. You could ask what kind of smile
he has etc... You can include these facts in the story when you write it.

Emphasize that there are really no right or wrong answers to any of the questions. Tell
them that it is just what they think the answer is. Again stress that you know how smart
and creative everyone is.

Thus this is a good creative outlet for long term care residents even if they have

You may want to have the group members suggest an opening line to the story such
as: “Once upon a time”, “One sunny day”, “A few days ago” or whatever works.
After you have compiled all the answers to the questions, write a simple story about the
picture using all or some of the answers given.

Then, later on, show the picture and read the story perhaps noting some great remarks
of those that participated. Of course, be complimentary. You may want to post the story
or create a short story book. Sometimes I share ideas that were expressed in this
group to family members.

Adorable Photographs of Our Baby, flash cards, are ideal for this activity

As with any activity, a sure way to guarantee success is for you or the group leader to be
animated and excited about doing the activity. Praising the participants for their efforts is
key to a positive outcome as well


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Autumn craft: A simple centerpiece

Activities directors and other healthcare professionals here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two

Get your subscription to Activity Director Today's e magazine

Autumn gardens are filled with the makings for bouquets and arrangements that can be placed outside or, when it turns cooler and the holidays approach, brought inside for a centerpiece. Try an arrangement with the following late-blooming flowers, vegetables, berries, fruits, and leaves:

Sunflowers, asters, dahlias, zinnias, hydrangeas, September flower, sage, autumn bugbane

Vegetables and herbs
Pumpkins, winter squash, gourds, peppers, winter wheat, dill, sage

Berries and fruits
Cranberries, beautyberries, nandina, baneberries, porcelain berries, crabapples, blue cohosh berries, apples, pomegranates, mandarin oranges

Colorful leaves from trees such as maple, oak, and magnolia; bushes such as viburnum and burning bush; or vines such as grape leaves and porcelain vine

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Four easy ways to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with those who have dementia

Activities directors, caregivers, and healthcare professionals,here is interesting information
Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

5776 marks the beginning of another year. 5.5 million Americans have dementia. A good number of them are Jewish. What can you do to make someone with dementia feel good this Rosh Hashanah?

How celebrating this holy day helps uplift their spirit and yours

Here are some suggestions

Pray with them.

Most folks with dementia have strong ties to their religion. Even those with advanced dementia may spontaneously recite portions of a prayer service that was part of their past.
The problem may be to find a service that is appropriate. The traditional service is long and crowded.
Here are a few suggestions
*Go at the beginning or end of the service. That is when the least amount of congregants is in attendance.
*Contact some assisted living or nursing homes in the area. Many of them have short simple services highlighting the important prayers. This is a win, win situation. You can see what a place is like, and most often, activity directors love having visitors attend group activities. It makes all involved feel good. If this is not possible, have a short service at home. If you explain the situation to the Rabbi, he or she will let you borrow or buy a prayer book. He may even drop by for a visit. Alternatively, you can find some prayers online. Make sure to include some songs in your service or just sing the songs throughout the holiday. A good song might be: Shalom Aleichem

Carry on a family tradition

All families have something special they do during the high holidays. Of course, most families go to a synagogue. What about after that? Maybe you went to Aunt Betty’s. Aunt Betty may no longer be around, but you can recreate the atmosphere that was there. Invite one or two understanding friends to help you with this. The memories of visiting Aunt Betty will be there

Related to this is talking about past experiences on Rosh Hashanah or other holidays.

Discuss what happened at Aunt Betty’s. Regale a story about a funny experience that took place at Aunt Betty’s.
Do not ask: Do you remember?, but rather, just tell the story and let your loved one with dementia add comments. Talk about family members both past and present. You might say: "When Uncle Harry shook the table, he made us all laugh". Tell some jokes and laugh some more. Laughter is the best medicine

Eat a traditional meal or foods together

This activity can wake up the taste buds of a dementia person. Before the holiday, discuss the recipes. Talk about different ingredients you need. Prepare a simple recipe together. Plan the meal. Ask: What should we eat first?etc.
Have him or her help set the table or fold the napkins.
You can talk about favorite family foods. Then make sure you have some of these favorites during the actual meal.

No matter what you do the goal is to make your loved one with dementia, feel good. Do not be a stickler for the rules. Reward good tries. If you feel a need to go to a traditional service, hire someone or have a friend go with you. If the service is too much for the dementia person, the friend can take him for a walk or take him home. Often congregants feel a need to take a break from the service whether they have dementia or not.

With some planning, this Rosh Hashanah, 5776, can be a good one for you and your loved one with dementia

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Jewish holidays and other fall activities

Activities directors and other healthcare professionals here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two

Get your subscription to Activity Director Today's e magazine

More Ways to Keep the Mind of People with Alzheimer's Disease, Related Dementias, Long Term Care Residents, and Others, Active This Fall

As with the early fall activities and discussion topics, the ones for mid fall also stimulate the mind of those with Alzheimer's disease, related dementias and other long term care residents. Keeping these people engaged in activities and conversation help to slow their loss of function. Having them keep a positive attitude also is a must

Mid fall activity topics include more about apples, but this time in combination with honey. Also on the list are the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. In addition to this, classical music and the piano are timely topics because September is national piano month and national classical music month.

The first activity idea incorporates apples, honey and the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana. Rosh Hashana(the Jewish New Year) is most often in September, but it depends on the Jewish calendar which has goes by the moon. Simply put, Rosh Hashana is a solemn holiday. It is a time for reflection, a time when you examine your life and make amends for all the wrongs that you may have been part of during the past year. Yom Kippur is the "day of atonement" when you ask forgiveness for all your sins of the past year. There are some traditions of these holidays that everyone can enjoy

This year Rosh Hashana begins at sundown on Sunday September 13 and ends at sunset on Tuesday September 15. Yom Kippur starts on the evening of Tuesday, September 22 and ends at sunset on September 23.

All Jewish holidays start and end in the evening.

A tradition on Rosh Hashana is to dip apples into honey. If you do this, it is said that you will have a sweet new year. This activity is relatively easy to do. You can have a discussion about the Jewish holidays. If you have any Jewish residents, make sure to involve him/her in the planning process. They may even reveal some more easy to do traditions to you.

Also call on them often during the discussion even if they are lower functioning. You might say something like, "Bella told me she used to(a tradition she told you about or you read about) on Rosh Hashana" Bella is the low functioning resident. It will make Bella feel good.

Then you can talk about honey.