Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Alzheimer's therapy aims to improve quality of life

As an Activities Director, other healthcare professional or caregiver of someone with Alzheimer's disease or another dementia, this article may be of interest to you

By KAREN LOVETT, Staff Writer

NASHUA – Anita Hinkle spoke softly into the ear of the woman, who was curled in a chair.

"Come siete?" Hinkle whispered in Italian. How are you?

Then, in English, "You look beautiful today."

Virginia Lorah didn't budge. Her 70-pound frame kept coiled. Her eyes stayed squeezed. She gripped her shins, slender as fence posts.

No response.

Hinkle smiled, unfazed by the silence. After all, she hadn't held a real conversation with Lorah in about three years, even though the 98-year-old woman is her mother.

Some 12 years ago, Lorah was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Slowly, the progressive brain disease robbed her of the ability to remember almost anything.

The last time the pair carried on a conversation, three years ago, Lorah's scattered memories had taken root in her teenage years.

Every so often, she would blurt about Bristol, Pa., the Philadelphia suburb where Lorah grew up in the early 1900s.

She'd ask about the whereabouts of her long-deceased father, a first-generation Italian-American who helped other immigrants with their naturalization paperwork. Hinkle would try to explain.

" 'They've gone to heaven,' " she would tell her mother. " 'They're waiting for you.' She'd say, 'Oh, no. No, no no.' "

Now, Lorah cannot......read the whole article

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mural provides soothing escape for long-term residents

Here is an idea for Activities directors,long term care staff of those with and without dementia, and caregivers
The Record


A forest and rolling landscape has sprouted at a Kitchener long-term care home, providing a soothing escape for residents with dementia who felt trapped behind a door that was secured for their safety.

The exit is now hidden behind the brush strokes of a local artist, and a whole new world has opened at The Westmount. Final touches were being put on the mural -- stretching 40 feet and from floor to ceiling -- just in time for Christmas.

The door was distressing to some first-floor residents, who have memory loss and forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, and are prone to wandering and looking for ways out.

"The residents become a little anxious and agitated by that because they can't get through the doors," said Amie Wilker, resident support services manager.

That's tough on staff and family too.

"It's heartbreaking to exit and hear them behind you at the door," Wilker said. "Families always had a hard time with that."

She knew a mural would......read the whole article

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Aromatherapy and the 4 "A's" of Alzheimer's

You as an Activities Director, other healthcare professional, or caregiver will find this post most informative
Alzheimer's and Dementia Weekly

There are many ways to care for people who are struggling with the "4 A's of Alzheimer's" – anxiety, aggression, agitation and apathy – but one of the most interesting and non-invasive is through the use of essential oils, known as aromatherapy.

Good Science

Two studies examined the efficacy of aromatherapy in decreasing agitated behavior in older adults with severe Alzheimer’s. In the first study, a two percent lavender oil aroma mist was streamed into a ward for a two-hour period every other day for a total of ten treatments. On alternate days, water was used for the sake of comparison. The majority of residents, a full 60%, showed a modest improvement in agitated behavior while 33% showed no change, indicating that it noticeably helped most patients with virtually no adverse effects.

The second study explored the effect of direct application of Melissa essential oil, also known as lemon balm. Its effect on the agitated behavior of those with severe dementia was compared to that of sunflower oil (as a placebo). The oils were combined with a base lotion and applied to the participants' faces and arms twice a day over a four-week period. The results revealed a....read the whole article

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dementia and Alzheimer's Caregivers Make the Holidays Wonderful

You as an Activities Director, other healthcare professional, or caregiver should find this article of interest
The holidays are expected to be a bright and cheerful time, filled with family and friends. For those caring for another it can be a time filled with stress, disappointment, frustration and sadness. For individuals who have been experiencing MCI, Dementia or Alzheimer’s, they may feel even greater distress and a deeper sense of loss. This is caused by the changes he or she has experienced. Caregivers far too often are overwhelmed. Family may want too much from the Senior and the caregiver as well. For the Caregiver, they can end up feeling pulled in many directions at the same time. They may want to participate in the holiday hub bub, and spend long periods of time with the other family members or have them to the house. This can be overwhelming physically, emotionally, and financially. Caregivers may be concerned about how.....read the whole article

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Activities for Someone With Alzheimer’s or Other Dementias

I thought you as an Activities Director, other healthcare profwssional or caregiver might fing this of interest from:
People with Alzheimer's or other dementias ultimately become unable to plan their time.. They need others to plan and lead meaningful activities for them. Staying engaged boosts their self-esteem and enjoyment, and it adds stimulation and structure to the day. Activities need not be special events -- many everyday chores and hobbies work perfectly.....Read it all

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Here is a place to learn about activities for those with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias

Friday, December 19, 2008


You as an Activities Director, other healthcare professional or caregiver will want to read this
Neurology Reviews.com


SAN DIEGO—Participating in recreational activities in midlife appears to offer protection from neurodegeneration, according to Robert P. Friedland, MD, and colleagues. "People who were less active were more than three times more likely to have Alzheimer's disease as compared to those who were more active," said Dr. Friedland, Associate Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Radiology. He and colleagues at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland studied the association between physical and mental activities in adulthood and the development of Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Friedland presented the results of the study at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.


During the study, information about participation in leisure activities was collected from a population of patients with Alzheimer's disease (n = 193) and from controls (n = 358). Questions about participation in 26 passive, intellectual, and physical activities (see table) were included on the questionnaire. The study participants were asked which activities they had participated in and for how long each month they had participated in these activities during their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Data on participation after age 60 or during the five-year period prior to disease onset (whichever was first) was not sought because......read the whole article

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Activity ideas for those with dementia, revisited

Here is something I found fron the Alzheimer's Association that you, as an Activities Director, other healthcare professional or caregiver, will find helpful
Alzheimer's Association
time. Activities also can enhance a person's sense of dignity and self-esteem by giving purpose and meaning to his or her life.

Planning activities should focus on the:





Focus on the person
Activities should be appropriate to the person and reflect his or her interests.

Keep the person's skills and abilities in mind

Pay special attention to what the person enjoys

Consider if the person begins activities without direction

Be aware of physical problems

Choosing an activity....read the whole thing

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas tips for those dealing with people who have dementia

Contributed by: Casaundra Machado

For most families, the holidays are filled with opportunities for togetherness, sharing laughter and memories. For people caring for the 65,000 Coloradoans with Alzheimer's disease, the holidays can also be filled with stress, disappointment and sadness. Because of the changes caused by Alzheimer's, families as well as the person with the disease may feel a special sense of loss during the holidays. Caregivers may also feel overwhelmed by trying to maintain holiday traditions while providing care. In addition, there may be some hesitation about inviting family and friends over to share the holiday for fear they will be uncomfortable with the changes they see in the person with the disease.

Here are some suggestions......read the whole article

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Activities directors, other healthcare professionals and caregivers. Here is yet another reason to keep your senior loved one or clients mentally active even if they already have dementia
American Geriatrics Society
Erin Weller
Too much mindless recreation may actually cause more harm than good.
Recent studies show that seniors who indicated a history of watching a lot of television during their middle-aged years often have high incidences of low cognitive ability in their elder years. In fact, low cognitive ability, sometimes referred to as mild cognitive impairment (MCI), is often a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Joseph Verghese, M.D., a member of the American Geriatrics Society, the problem is not television itself, but the lack of stimulation to the brain. People engaged in more mentally stimulating activities seem to have...read the whole thing

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas tree safe for patients with Alzheimer's

You, as an activities director, other healthcare professional or caregiver will be interested in this story about decorating a Christmas tree that is safe for most with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia
Calgary Herald
Canwest News Service
Alice Jones's home is decorated with a special Christmas tree that glitters with everything edible.

Tinsel has been replaced with popcorn strings and Cheerios chains. Gingerbread men and sugary santas have taken the places of wooden soldiers.

The old-fashioned tree was the idea of the staff at the McConnell Place north Alzheimer Care Centre in Edmonton.

It's a way to.....read the whole article

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or here

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nature nurture the new tool in dementia care

Activities directors and other healthcare professionalssometimes we can learn from our friend in Australia
Sarah Bieske
St Laurence launched the aged care facility at Costa House Residential Aged Care, which will support the elderly who need specialised residential and nursing care, including dementia, and are no longer able to live independently.

The Care Farm has various animals, which the residents will care for and feed on a daily basis under the supervision of staff and volunteers, as well as vegetable and herb gardens, fruit groves and a shed with tools and equipment needed for the daily running of the small farm.

The activities will provide residents.....read the whole story

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Help those with dementia dream of an"old fashioned" Christmas

Activities Directors, other healthcare professionals and caregivers help those with dementia dream of an"old fashioned" Christmas by showing some old favorite Christmas movies. Watching these movies will make you and them feel good.
Read this blog post for the titles and other information
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Therapeutic Activities Are Vital For the Elderly

Here is an article about activities that might be of interest to you
By Steven Whateley
The Alzheimer's Society's Home from Home report says that "people with dementia spend an average of two minutes in every six hours interacting with other people." The solution's simple, says care instructor Gill Kearsley.

Every day, throughout Britain, elderly residents in care homes are waking, or being woken, to face a day of boredom and loneliness. If they, as is common in care homes, are suffering from a dementia, then their day may also be full of confusion, anxiety, fear and an overwhelming sense of failure. They may be kept clean and well fed, their rooms may be tidied and their beds made. They may be physically cared for, but the truth is that emotional...read the whole article

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Therapeutic Activities Slow Dementia

By Rick Nauert, Ph.D.
Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
(Psych Central) -- A new study suggests those diagnosed with early stage dementia can slow their physical, mental and psychological decline by taking part in therapeutic programs that combine counseling, support groups, Chinese exercise and meditation. Some of the benefits of this approach are comparable to those achieved with anti-dementia medications.

“Most of the research on dementia and most of the dollars up until this point have gone into pharmacological interventions,” said Sandy Burgener, a professor of nursing at the University of Illinois and lead author on the study.

“But we have evidence now from studies like mine that show that other approaches can make a difference in the way people live and can possibly also impact their cognitive function.”

In the study, 24 people with early stage dementia participated in an intensive 40-week program. The intervention included biweekly sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy and support groups, along with three sessions per week of traditional Chinese martial arts exercises and meditation, called qigong (chee-gong) and Taiji (tye-jee).

A comparison group of people with early stage dementia did not participate in these programs for the first 20 weeks of the intervention.

Researchers are discovering that multidiscliplinary approaches – those that address patients’ physical, mental and psychological dimensions – show the most promise in treating people with dementia, Burgener said.

“There’s a lot of support for multi-modal therapies for persons with dementia, especially those with early stage dementia,” she said.

“Not only can we help people have....read the whole article

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Activity Professional Certfications

by Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care
Are You Certified? It is recommended that all activity professionals are certified as a Certified Activity Assistant (AAC) or Certified Activity Director (ADC). The process is easier than you think. Certification is through the www.nccap.org National Certification Council of Activity Professionals. There are several tracks to follow and you.....read the whole newsletter
Invest in yourself
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Friday, December 5, 2008

Another way to engage demenia folks

You as an activities director, other healthcare professional, or caregiver should read this
New York Times
IN a colorfully decorated room on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a half-dozen bright minds were engaged in a Montessori exercise called category-sorting. The categories were “dessert” and “non-dessert.” Pheona Yaw, who led the exercise, held up yellow cards with words on them.
“Carrots,” she said, reading from the first rectangular card. “Dessert or non-dessert?”

That was an easy one, the group agreed. “Not dessert,” they said. Ms. Yaw placed the card over a rectangular outline on the non-dessert side of the board.

She moved on.

“Strawberry shortcake,” she said, holding up the next card. “Dessert?”

“No, that’s not a dessert at all,” said Holly Kromer-Sharpe, decisively. Others disagreed. Ms. Yaw put the card aside and moved on to pizza, on which there was agreement: pizza was not a dessert. Then she returned to strawberry shortcake.

“Dessert or non-dessert?” she asked.

Holly Kromer-Sharpe again spoke first. “I think that’s a dessert, yeah,” she said, just as firmly, as if the question itself were an affront. “What’re you trying to do, anyway?”

In a typical Montessori....read the whole article

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Anothet great dementia activity

As an activities director, other healthcare professional, or caregiver, you might be interested in thisAlzheimer's Activities Expert
We are going to digress for this activity using large colorful pictures of babies doing different things.

This is another ideal activity to be done with the flash cards, “Adorable Photographs of Our Baby”

Before the actual beginning of the game, it is probably best to......read the whole post

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New alzheimers treatment pioneered

As an Activities Director, other healthcare professional, or family member, you might br interested in this

Manchester Evening News
Rachel Hoyes

A REVOLUTIONARY low-stress method in caring for Alzheimer's and other dementia patients is being pioneered in a Bury nursing home.

Carers are trained to allow patients to re-experience their long-term memories as they please, giving them more freedom and minimal reliance on medication.

Staff at Gorsey Clough in Tottington, the first care home in the north west to adopt the method, will work closely with individual patients and their relatives to find out about their lives before they had dementia, allowing them to understand the memories they are re-living.

Eric Dalton, 81, whose wife Vera, 85, is an Alzheimer's patient at Gorsey Clough, said: "The new method lets patients be as they want to be. That's how I've always treated Vera - I go along with her world. The sooner you accept that the betterAt Gorsey Clough patients are allowed a tremendous amount of freedom and can do what they like."

Collette Conway, Home Manager at Gorsey Clough which has 18 residents with dementia, said: "Normally Alzheimer's sufferers are oriented in what is happening now, but instead of this the carers try to get into their worlds - the person with dementia is never treated as wrong.

"Many dementia sufferers follow their own 'missions'. For example, one lady may decide she wants to wear her coat inside all day. Many care......read the whole story

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Strategies For Having An Enjoyable Christmas With Those Who Have Dementia

Activities Directors, other healthcare professionals, and caregivers:
Learn what activities and gifts will make those with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia smile this holiday season. These activities and gifts ensure you and your loved one or client a delightful Christmas, this year

PRLog (Press Release) – Dec 02, 2008 – Over 5.2 million people in the US now have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. We all benefit from sharing Christmas with someone we care about. The smells, the sounds, and the sights bring back happy memories. People with dementia should have this opportunity too. Following these tips will ensure you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia a pleasurable holiday season. Use these tips to help you choose a gift they will enjoy now and in days and months to come.
The gift of yourself is one of the best gifts you can give so do things together.

One thing you can do .....read the whole article

Monday, December 1, 2008

Susan Berg's book on dementia now available

You as an Activities Director should know that Susan Berg, Certified Dementia Practitioner and author, announces that her book, is now available at Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care. Learn about this premiere website and Susan Berg
Susan Berg, Certified Dementia Practitioner and author, announces that her book, Adorable Photographs of Our Baby Meaningful Mind Stimulating Activities and More for the Memory Challenged, Their Loved Ones and Involved Professionals is now available at Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care http://www.activitytherapy.com/store/books.html (Go to the bottom of the page)
Susan Berg, is a seasoned dementia healthcare professional. She has much experience engaging those with dementia in meaningful activities. She shares some of these.....read the whole story