Professor Uses Spice Painting to Slow Progress of Dementia

Dr. Tisone’s scent painting activity involves mixing spices with water to make watercolor paints with the hope that the scents will bring back memories for the patients.  Students are trained to elicit conversation based on reactions to those smells.

– See more at: Professor Uses Spice Painting to Slow Progress of Dementia

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How strong friendships can defy dementia

The Momentia movement uses strong social ties to ward off the effects of Alzheimer’s.

Source: How strong friendships can defy dementia

Activities for Nursing Homes and Assisted Living

Activities for Nursing Homes and Assisted Living

Key to Quality of Life and Strong Contributor to Culture Change

An individualized, well though out activities program is at the heart of a quality life for residents in nursing homes or assisted living residences. Activities is not just about bingo and watching television. In fact, activity programs can be quite creative and stimulating for the mind. And the health and well-being benefits of a good program are becoming more and more documented. In short, this stuff works.

Read the full article here, on AssistedLiving.About.com

5 Therapeutic Activities for Alzheimer’s Care Partners

This post comes to us from familyaffaires.com. I came across it on a LinkedIn post by a gentleman I met in a fantastic online course about dementia, Mike Good. Mike Good is founder of Together in This, an online community helping family members caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. Through short, informative articles and easy-to-use tools, such as the Introductory Guide to Alzheimer’s, he helps them take control and have peace-of-mind they are doing the right things.

You can access the original article on familyaffaires.com by clicking on the title, below.

5 Therapeutic Activities for the Alzheimer’s Care Partners

We often hear about therapeutic activities that are beneficial for the person with Alzheimer’s or another dementia but it’s just as important to consider their care partner – the caregiver.

Living successfully with the disease requires that both care partners enjoy therapeutic enrichment that benefits their mind, body, and spirit.

But because the caregiver is often the only person caring for their loved one, it is difficult for them to find time to enjoy activities that are beneficial for them as well.

There are activities that can be done together that simultaneously meet the needs of the caregiver while providing beneficial sensory stimulation for the person with Alzheimer’s or other dementia:

Read the rest of this article at familyaffaires.com

1950’s apartment – A museum especially for those with dementia

Museum Helps the Elderly (and those with dementia)

This article is from the Danish news source TV2.

The Old Town (an open-air museum in Aarhus, Denmark) has a reminiscence apartment that is fully booked on weekdays, but now those who are interested have the opportunity to see the apartment and get an insight into the work of remembrance communication (reminiscence).

22. apr 2015, kl. 12:32 | By: Katrine Rubeck – updated 25. april 12.20

AARHUS:  This weekend, The Old Town in Aarhus opens up the city’s rememberence apartment.

Photooto: Thorsten Overgaard, Den Gamle By

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Designing technology at age 90

This is an awesome National Public Radio story about a 90 year old woman who is using her wisdom and talents to develop technologies for aging adults!

Beskind says as she gets older and faces new problems in the world, she’s thankful she’s a designer. “It makes aging more tolerable, more enjoyable,” she says. “I enjoy the age I’m in. I think it’s one of the best chapters of my life.”

Barbara Beskind, 90, is a designer at IDEO who works with engineers on products that improve the quality of life for older people.

At 90, She’s Designing Tech For Aging Boomers

JANUARY 19, 2015 2:32 PM ET You can also listen to the NPR story on this article: 
In Silicon Valley’s youth-obsessed culture, 40-year-olds get plastic surgery to fit in. But IDEO, the firm that famously developed the first mouse for Apple, has a 90-year-old designer on staff.

Barbara Beskind says her age is an advantage.

“Everybody who ages is going to be their own problem-solver,” she says. And designers are problem-solvers. Beskind speaks while sitting on a couch at the open office space of IDEO in San Francisco. She commutes to the office once a week from a community for older adults where falling is a problem.

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Keeping active!

We are having gorgeous weather today in Copenhagen. It’s getting to be that time of year when everyone wants to be outside in the sunshine and warm temperatures. In this post, I have compiled a few resources to give you inspiration to be active and engaged in your life and to HAVE FUN!

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After-hours program for people with dementia

This article from The Atlantic highlights a program in New York called ElderServe At Night. It’s a care program for people who have dementia, working the dusk-til-dawn hours. The program aims to serve people who become more active at night as their dementia progresses, and to provide respite for caregivers who tend to lose sleep and have poorer sleep hygiene due to these nighttime activities.

Starting from 7pm, ElderServe will pick up individuals at their homes and provide a range of activities like painting, socialization, dancing, and massage. They can even be showered, fed, and ready for the new day when they start to be driven back home at 7am the next morning.

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Coloring as a purposeful activity

This post highlights a new series of coloring books FOR ADULTS that has been published! Although I am in my 30’s, I quite enjoy coloring and the smell of crayons. I even have a thoughtful and young-at-heart friend who has sent me coloring books and crayons as presents 🙂 But, the deeper message here is about creative play and art as a therapeutic medium.

While these coloring books might be a bit too busy or intricate for someone with dementia or dexterity problems (Parkinson’s, MS, arthritis), they show us that we are never too old to be creative and that this should be fostered.

If you’re looking for something a bit more appropriate for someone with dementia, I suggest taking a look at Memories Coloring Books, coloring books for adults (including books with muscle cars, dogs, fruit and veggies, boats, etc.) through Zest Dementia & Aged Care, or learning more about creative activities in dementia care through Best Alzheimer’s Products.

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10 Ideas for Outings

10 Ideas for Spring Outings

This is a re-post from agingcare.com, and I am happy to pass on some good ideas for your dementia adventures!

Many aging adults spend the bulk of their time just managing to get through the day. They take care of life’s basics but often don’t leave their home, assisted living center or nursing home, except for doctor appointments and an occasional holiday.

Families and friends might like to take a senior out for some fun but they don’t know how to go about it. Even seasoned caregivers can be stumped for ideas, so here are a few to get started:

  1. Take a Sunday drive. When I was young, driving around the community to check out home town activity was a Sunday afternoon ritual for many adults. While life is more complicated now, many elders still enjoy watching new construction or being shown how the town that they’ve lived in for decades is changing. For those who live near flood prone bodies of water, spring is a terrific time to take a drive to see how this year’s water levels compare to other years. A twist on this approach is to pick a prime time when cherry trees, crab apple trees or other ornamentals are at their peak and do a flower tour. Getting out of the car is optional, based on your elder’s abilities and wishes.
  2. Go to the zoo. Who doesn’t like baby animals? Spring is birth time for most species. Rent or borrow a wheelchair if one is needed for longer walks. Not only will your elders see baby animals, they will see young children reacting to the animals. As with everything suggested, watch your loved one for signs of fatigue, thirst, too much sun or other issues that could signal that it’s time to leave, perhaps with a promise to return at another time should they wish to do so.
  3. Go to a restaurant. When was the last time you took your elder to a restaurant that he or she has enjoyed over the years? Now that snow isn’t a problem, it’s easier to navigate such adventures. Keep in mind that going for a meal at off-peak times is a good idea. That usually means less stress for everyone. Also, elders who are hard of hearing won’t feel as isolated if there’s less background noise.
  4. Visit a Dairy Queen. One of my mom’s favorite treats was a hot fudge sundae from Dairy Queen. I’d often take her to get a sundae on the way home from a doctor visit or other necessary outing, but occasionally we’d go to Dairy Queen just for something to do. She preferred sitting in the car to eat, but I do suggest encouraging your loved ones to sit outside if the weather’s nice and they are able.
  5. Enjoy children at play. Watch children swim or play on playground equipment. Spring brings young children out in throngs. People who enjoy children often like hearing their laughter and watching the seeming innocence of this type of play.
  6. Spring programs. Take your elder to the spring programs that most schools sponsor. This is particularly nice if a grandchild or great-grandchild is involved, but that’s not necessary. If your elder doesn’t know any of the children, then I’d suggest focusing on the younger ones. They tend to be “cuter.” However, if grandchildren are involved, take your elder to watch them perform in their concerts, plays or other activities. You may have to arrange for a spouse or friend to be available to take Grandma home if she gets tired or uncomfortable. A twist on this idea is to attend one of the concerts in the park that many communities have during the spring and summer.
  7. Have a picnic. Whether you go to a park, stay in your own backyard or use the grounds of the nursing home, a picnic is often possible. If your loved one is able, going to a park would be nice, however many nursing homes have gorgeous grounds and nice areas with tables that accommodate wheel chairs. If all else fails—and I’m aware that this isn’t an outing but sometimes we have to punt—bring a picnic to your loved one in the care home.
  8. Check out the crops. If your elder has an agricultural background or is interested in wildflowers, try taking a country drive. My parents didn’t have any first-hand agricultural experience, but they still enjoyed driving in the country to see new crops being planted and wild flowers blooming. Tailor this outing to your area of the country and your elder’s preferences.
  9. Go fishing. A friend told me that his community sponsors events where elders are taken out on pontoons—wheelchairs and all—to fish. Volunteers are there to help with anything the elder can’t do. Just being out on the water and holding a rod can be a thrill for someone who has enjoyed fishing in the past. Again, this can be adjusted to accommodate other pastimes.
  10. Visit a friend. Many elders lose touch with their peers. Sickness, the death of a spouse and/or difficulty getting around can mean they haven’t seen a dear friend for months or even years. See if you can set up a lunch or just a visit with someone your loved one has enjoyed through the years. Perhaps you can take them both to a park or a restaurant.

Use these ideas as springboards. You know your loved one. What did his or she enjoy in their earlier, healthier days? Don’t be afraid to ask what they miss doing or what they’d like to do. They may not hear those questions very often these days.

If you get a shoulder shrug or an “I don’t know,” then be ready to say, “Sunday looks nice so we’ll go for a picnic.” You may get some resistance but if it seems like simple inertia, just say with a smile that it would make you very happy if they’d do this for you. If a loved one truly doesn’t want to be part of an activity, try whittling down your expectations and suggesting something less strenuous.

As mentioned above, during any of these activities monitor your loved one for dehydration and heat issues if the weather is warm, or chilliness if it’s cool. Older bodies don’t adjust to temperature changes as well as younger ones. Be prepared with sun hats and hooded windbreakers. Also, bring water to drink and watch for fatigue.

And remember, you are doing this for pleasure, so don’t overdo anything.

Technology and activities for people with dementia

Using ICT in activities for people with dementia

A short guide for social care providers

The Social Care Institute for Excellence has made a great page to introduce technology-supported activities for someone with dementia. It covers a wide range of topics, like how technologies can be used or help, how to start, ideas for activities, examples, and more resources if you want to find out more. I have been following their organization for a few years, since I started my PhD on technologies to support dementia care in 2009, and I recommend them as a resource if you want to learn more about bettering the lives and care of aging adults.

If you check it out, I would really like to hear your opinions and experiences! You can find the page here.

This is a short introduction to using information and communication technology (ICT) in activities for people with dementia. It is aimed at managers and staff in the care sector, and those who organise activities for people with dementia. It’s a plain language guide about using mainstream technologies – you don’t need to be technically minded. We hope it will be useful for you whether you are new to this topic or already have some experience of using ICTs in dementia support.

Dementia Adventure – Wood if We Could

This is taken from the introduction of the Dementia Adventure’s guide to leading group adventures and visits to woodland areas for people with dementia. You can download the booklet or read it here.

The result of a partnership between the VisitWoods team at the Woodland Trust, Dementia Adventure CIC, and Tony Vale at Activity Team, this guide builds on the successful pilot project which Dementia Adventure led in 2011. This pilot was called “Wandering in the Woods”. The report, which outlines the physical, social and emotional benefits of woodland visits for people living with dementia, along with the three supporting films, is available at www.dementiaadventure.co.uk.

VisitWoods, Dementia Adventure and Activity Team shared a vision that it is possible for people living with dementia to safely and enjoyably benefit from visiting woodland. The reality for many people living with dementia in care settings is that they often have little or no access to woodland. At the same time there are some extremely committed staff and family members who are successfully enabling small groups of residents to get out into nature. We all strongly felt that there are solutions and practical resources, which if collated and shared, would lead to more people living with dementia in care settings to benefit from visiting woodland, as well as other natural spaces.

This enabling, informative and practical guide is aimed at older people and people living with dementia, who can often find themselves excluded from participating in or enjoying activity out in woodland. This adaptable and engaging resource helps to:
• Provide inspiration and information to enjoy woodland activity
• Outline the benefits of woodland activities
• Reduce the perceptions of barriers to accessing woodland
• Increase confidence in accessing woodland by sharing solutions to common barriers
• Share resources to help group leaders to visit woods
• Provides inspiration and resources to help group leaders plan visits to other green space/natural settings

The guide is also available online and the authors welcome feedback, comments and other helpful resources which we can share to keep this work relevant and up to date.