Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tips on how to create music activities for those with dementia

Music is a powerful tool for reaching people with dementia.

Here are more suggestions for music activities courtesy of Alzheimer's Weekly

Visit your local music store to find CDs from the 1930s through the 1950s. Songs should be familiar, such as songs from the period when the clients were teens or young adults. Favorite popular artists, Broadway shows such as “South Pacific” and “Oklahoma,” and works of composers like George Gershwin are but a few possibilities. (Please note that with the aging of the “baby boomers”, one should be aware of changing musical tastes as tomorrow’s older adults gradually shift more towards Elvis and the Beatles).
There are many ready-made sing-along DVD and video resources available at and found in senior product catalogs such as S&S Worldwide (1-800-243-9232) and Sea Bay Games (1-800-568-0188).
Your public library is another wonderful resource where you can borrow musical CDs or DVDs of an opera or familiar Broadway show.
If you play an instrument and want to have a sing-along, play it at a slower pace and in a lower key. You can obtain lyrics from the Internet and print them out in an enlarged typeface.
Create a soothing atmosphere by playing classical CDs such as Mozart and Chopin, or tune the radio to a classical music station. (Note: Playing any kind of music for longer than one hour at a time can contribute to agitation. Give participants a 20 minute break from the music before continuing.)
Add singing and humming to your daily activities and encourage all to join you in singing. Your participation in musical activities is bound to lift your spirits too

Music can open peoples' hearts and minds so use it often

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Music activities, Alzheimers disease and related dementias

I am so glad Susan is posting activities for those with Alzheimers disease and related dementias.

Over the next months I will be adding activities that incorporate music

Here is a link to an interesting article

Here is another article

Thanks for stopping by

Be sure to leave any questions in the comment section. I will do my best to answer them.

Contact me directly by email

Friday, July 25, 2008

Adapting and modifying activities for those with dementia

If you are working with long term care residents with dementia, you need to adapt and modify activities so that they are success oriented and failure free.

There are many good activity ideas out there but in order to make them success oriented for your particular population, you probably will have to change them somewhat to meet the needs and interests of the group

Lets take an activity from the book Hidden Treasures, a book with many good musical activities for those with Alzheimer's and related dementias.

An activity that would be appropriate for this time of year would be an activity about the beach.

The origanal author of this book, Cindy Cordrey, suggests an evtremely appropriate activity. It is all about going to the beach something many did and remember

She integrates music, reminiscing and sensory stimulation.

The goals of the activity are to: have fun, reminisce, socialize, and see, feel, and hear familiar beach relateed material.

Does this sound like a good activity?

Do you have any questions?

Please post them.

More about this activity in my next post.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Encourage Your Staff to Have an Alzheimer's Viewing Party

Susan Berg, Alzheimer's advocate, author and Activity Director at Hunt Nursing and Rehabilitation Center encourages people everywhere to become an Alzheimer's advocate because more than 5 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia and someone new is added to those ranks every 71 seconds. By 2050 experts predict there will be as many as 16 million Americans living with the disease. There are no survivors and there is no cure. There is no doubt you know people affected by these terrible diseases.

You can help in the fight against these diseases! Host a Viewing Party

Click here for more information

Sunday, July 20, 2008

More About Dementia Activity Tools

Yesterday, I talked about the book Adorable Photographs of Our Baby-Meaningful Mind Stimulating Activities and More for the Memory Challenged, Their Loved Ones and Involved Professionals. which features baby pictures as a springboard for discussions about anything under the sun. And I said the author, Susan Berg, is giving away a portion of the book. Just click here and email her

The other book, I talked about, Still Giving Kisses by Barbara Smith, discusses many ideas she used with her mother who had Alzheimer’s disease.Barbara is an Occupational Therapist. Thus her ideas are right on.

What I did not say is that both these books are extremenly useful tools for CNAs

Here is what Vernessa LuShaun Burgess, CNA from Delray Beach, Florida had to say

The book was very insightful. I especially enjoyed the pictures that the staff
and family can use. They will help me communicate with the memory challenged and
provide a personal touch while I am doing it. The ideas were also very helpful
because they involve an involve people with all stages of dementia and can
easily be adapted for verbal and nonverbalindividuals. I give the book two
thumbs up.
Thus have several copies of each book around so they(the CNAs) will be able to engage dementia residents more easily

Also you may want to check out the post on May 30,Activities that ANYONE can do with a RESIDENT with or without dementia
Your comments, please

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dementia Activity Helpers

Often staff and visitors do not know what to do after they say hello to persons with dementia.

Listed are two books that will solve this problem

One is Adorable Photographs of Our Baby-Meaningful Mind Stimulating Activities and More for the Memory Challenged, Their Loved Ones and Involved Professionals.It features baby pictures as a springboard for discussions about anything under the sun.

The author, Susan Berg, is giving away a portion of the book. Just click here and email her

The other book is called Still Giving Kisses. The author Barbara Smith discusses many ideas she used with her mother who had Alzheimer’s disease.
Barbara is an Occupational Therapist. Thus her ideas are right on.
Click here to get a glimpse of her website.

You may want to make copies if the songs she lists to hand out to the residents, staff and visitors

Let me know what you think

Thanks for stopping by

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Activities help improve lives of Alzheimer's folks and other long term care residents

Those woking in Activities Departments of long term care facilities and alike know how important daily activities are to all residents, clients etc., especially those with Alzheimer's and other dementias

Robert Lucas former administrator, and founder of Activty Director Today has a survey for Activities Professional.

Click here to see it

Help Activities departments everywhere get the recognition and funding they need

Thank you

Monday, July 14, 2008

Activity Director Today Welcomes Susan Berg

The Activity Director Today Community welcomes Susan Berg to the contributing staff. Every month she will be sharing an activity that works for folks in long term care settings. Please visit her webpage at Activity Director Today
This months featured activity is Name That Tune with a Twist
Here is a link to Sarah's Favorite Songs
You may also want to subscribe to the Avtivity Director E-Magazine
You can also post your comments here or at yahoo's health group
Activity Director Community

Friday, July 11, 2008

Person Centered Care and the Activity/Recreation Professional

Debbie Hommel BA, CRA, ACC, CRTS, Executive Director of DH Special Services
of Activity Directors Office has made some excellent suggestions for person centered care and the Activity Professional
Debbie is dedicated to helping Activity Professionals with the daily operation of their department.

Person Centered Care and the Activity/Recreation Professional

by Debbie Hommel, BA, CRA, ACC, CRTS

Here is a portion of what she wrote:

Activities that are meaningful: What makes an activity meaningful? Meaningful activities are those that relate to the interests and needs of the person.
click here for more info

Activities that reflect person’s lifestyle and interests: Again, a good assessment will allow the activity professional to offer the right programs and use the appropriate skills to interest and engage the resident in the program.
Examples: Many of the same activities which were listed for meaningful programs apply here as well.

Activities that are enjoyable: In order to find joy in a program, the individual needs to feel some measure of success and a “return” on their participation.
click here for more info

Activities that make the person feel useful: The loss of purpose or the feeling that you are not needed anymore is one of the most devastating losses of any person, including our elderly population. Many residents have lived long,
productive lives. Arriving at the point where they are told to“sit and relax”is depressing at best.
click here for more info

Activities that give a sense of belonging: The activity community which includes a variety of
click here for more info

This information is particularily valuable in light of the new interpretations of CMS activity guidelines and potential F tags

You may also be interested in this

For valuable and innovative activity ideas click here

Sunday, July 6, 2008

More Sensory Activities

I do alot of poetry reading. Do those with dementia understand the words? Probably
not...but I believe they respond to the rhythm of the words, the calm
feeling that a soothing poem elicits, the excited feeling that a fast-
paced poem brings, etc. can never have too many hats. Wear them yourself, have the residents wear them.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you can feel it, smell it,
touch it, wear it or hear can put it to some use with
Alzheimers and dementia residents. All it takes is a little imagination! And
don't forget the spiritual aspect.
Use whatever you think might still find that place inside of the resident where understanding still exists. It's there...and
it might be different with each resident...but it's the search for that special place inside that makes the work worthwhile.

click here for more