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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Patriotic Pleasures: A Meaningful Activity for Those with Memory Impairments

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There are many patriotic holidays throughout the year. This activity is appropriate for those times, as well as for any time you or they just feel or want to feel patriotic.

You should have a flag or a picture of a flag handy. You can start this activity by reciting the "Pledge of Allegiance." Then you can sing one or two patriotic songs, such as "My Country Tis of Thee'' or "America the Beautiful, Beautiful," with the person or people with dementia.

Now you can have a discussion about the flag. Instead of asking questions, make statements that the dementia participants can complete. Here are some examples.

The colors on the flag are_____,______ and____.

The flag today has_____ stars.

The color of the stars is_____.

The flag has_____stripes.

The colors of the stripes are_____ and______.

There are six____stripes.

There are seven____stripes.

The stripes represent the_____original colonies.

The first flag had____ stars.

I am sure you can think of many more statements. In fact, you can have your participants think of statements about the flag. Then sing the song, "You're a Grand Old Flag."

Now talk about the letters in the word "flag." Mention each letter one at a time. Say, "Lets think of words that start with each letter. If the participant is higher functioning, then have them say a word that starts with a particular letter that is a symbol or a feeling of the flag or patriotism.

For example:

Here are some words that start with f, flag, friendship, fun, father, future, freedom. Here are some words that start with l, love, little, land, live, light, leader. Here are some words that start with a, America, always, anthem. Here are some words that start with g, grand, great, general, generosity.


If people are having trouble thinking of words, give them hints or broaden the categories. You can think of people’s names that start with each letter in the word flag, for example. Next sing another patriotic song like, “The Star Spangled Banner”.


Now have a discussion about the armed forces. Talk about the five branches of the armed forces. See who in your audience was in the army, navy, air force, marines, or coast guards. You can sing the theme songs from the different branches of the service during this part of the discussion. You can talk about the different ranks people can hold in each of the branches, such as, private, sergeant, captain, or general. See if any one can name well remembered persons in the service such as General Patton, General Eisenhower, or General MacArthur, for example. Of course, name people in the group who were in the armed forces because, after all, they are famous in your mind. Make sure to thank these people for the service to the country that they did as well.


Now sing another patriotic song like “God Bless America”. If time permits, have a discussion about various states that people have visited. You can also have a discussion about the thirteen original colonies. I find that if people are trying to remember the names of states, you can mention the names of cities in the states as hints.


End the activity with another patriotic song like Yankee Doodle Dandy”.  A mixture of discussion alternated with song works best when trying to keep the interest of everyone involved.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A great addition to your activity calendar

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Every afternoon at 4pm, I have a program called “Live&Learn”.

A daily “Live&Learn” program is a nice addition to any activity calendar. It gives you and the residents a chance to either discuss daily events, news, and trivia or special days.

As I said before, distributing special cards each week when you pass out the weekly calendar gives residents who do not come to group activities a way to get involved.

If you do not pass out weekly calendars, you can distribute the cards every Friday, at an activity or during 1:1 visits.

You can then use the cards during the 1:1 visits that day or another day.

At the monthly birthday party, I pick the winners from those who have completed and turned in the cards for that month. I give out a small prize or certificate to all those who participate. This adds a nice touch to the monthly birthday party. It gives you a way to honor other people besides those who have a birthday that month.  



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Alzheimer's Therapeutic Activities

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

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

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be


Alzheimer's Activities


•There are many different stages that a person with Alzheimer's and dementia will go through, therefore activities for individuals in the early or middle stage of the disease will differ from the end stages of Alzheimer's.

•When planning activities for the person with Alzheimer's. disease, creating routine and structure is extremely important.

•In order to improve quality of life at each stage of the disease it is important to focus on the patients strengths and abilities. It is important to look at what the patient can do, instead of what they cannot do. Planning activities is a process of trial and error involving continual exploration, experimentation and adjustment.

•Activities can be passive or active. Some patients may participate in an activity, while others may only observe or watch.

•It is important to understand that activities are not just planned activities. Activities can include life skills, such as encouraging patients to hold their tooth brush, wash cloth or to choose an item of clothing. Mealtime activities may include folding napkins, setting the table, clearing the table and washing dishes.

•Regular exercise is an important activity for overall health. It may help improve sleep and prevent restlessness.

•Walking: Take short walks if distance is a problem, and then slowly progress to longer walks. Make sure the patient, is in comfortable clothing and shoe laces are tied. If the weather does not permit, utilize the hallway of a building or an indoor shopping mall. A stroll in the wheelchair is also good exercise if the person is able to propel themselves.

•For chair exercise use props such as streamers, maracas, batons, pom-poms, canes, stretch bands, tambourines, clappers, top hats, scarves, or small hand held balls. Hand held props help develop hand strength and provides stimulating visuals for the patient.

•Music is another important activity for patients with Alzheimer's. It may help in calming the individual, bringing back memories and adding to the quality of life.

•Activities using music can include sing-a-longs and name-that-tune. Tunes should be short, catchy and easy to follow. They should also be easy to recognize and remember. Relaxing music is suggested for mealtimes and toward the end of the day.