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Positive Peer Re-Enforcement

I have a resident that is so soft spoken it is almost impossible to understand what she is saying.

Positive reinforcement can yield positive results
Positive reinforcement can yield positive results

In the past when she spoke it was completely undistinguishable.  Even speech therapy had stopped working with her.

However, her roommate is very patient with her.  She coaxes and encourages her to speak in a manner that is kind and caring.

Lately, I’ve noticed that this sweet lady is speaking more distinctly and louder.

It’s amazing what a little encouragement and love can accomplish.

What positive re-enforcements have you seen from peer interaction?

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Power of Touch

I have several residents that are difficult to reach and many people don’t even try to get to know them.  I feel as if they are the ones missing out.

Touch can make a big difference in Alzheimer's
Touch can make a big difference in Alzheimer’s

One way to reach out to a bed bound, hard of hearing or comatose patient is through the power of touch.

  • Just a hand on their arm
  • a squeeze of the hand
  • a hand massage
  • a stroke of their upper arm
  • a pat of their foot

These are all ways the power of touch can work.  It doesn’t have to be for long, but even a minute of this can show you still care and connect you.

What way has the power of touch worked for you?

dancing

7 Tips for Planning Activities for Alzheimer’s

Working with Alzheimer’s patients, I am often challenged.  How do I find activities that are enjoyable and engaging for my residents?

Some tips to keep in mind are:dancing

  1. Focus on the enjoyment of the activity and not the results. I had one lady that would play checkers with me.  This mainly meant moving the pieces around the board.  We made up the rules as we went along.  Yet, she was enjoying herself so that’s all that mattered.
  2. Be aware of physical impairments, including sight and hearing problems
  3. Keep the individuals skills and abilities in mind
  4. Relate to activities that were previously enjoyable through either hobbies or work life
  5. Look for activities that are enjoyable for the person
  6. Set a schedule for when certain activities are conducted {this can even include meals and bathing routine}
  7. Consider the capabilities of the individual

What do you take into consideration when planning activities?

Alz doll

8 Simple Activities for Alzheimer’s

Even simple things are enjoyable for someone with Alzheimer’s. Often they can do these and there is not a lot of stress or expectation in these activities.

This can include:

Many Alzheimer's patients find joy in baby dolls
Many Alzheimer’s patients find joy in baby dolls
  1. Singing a song
  2. Clapping hands
  3. Playing with a baby doll
  4. Having an ice cream cone
  5. Enjoying a hand or shoulder massage
  6. Having a special treat
  7. A visit from a loved one
  8. Time with a child or pet

While this may seem very simple for us, for a person with Alzheimer’s it can be a big deal.  Such a simple act can be very special to our loved one.

What simple acts are special for your loved one?

sound

10 Memory Stimulating exercises

Stimulating the mind and memory are great tools for dementia and Alzheimer’s patient.  Even in the most advanced stages they can do simple task.

The interest and ability of each person is different, however some suggestions are:

Music has a healing power
Music has a healing power
  1. Checkers
  2. Tic tac toe
  3. Cards—Uno, Old Maid, etc.
  4. Puzzles—even if it is the simple 10 piece puzzle
  5. Word Search Puzzles
  6. Fill in the Blanks—we will take a familiar hymn, song or piece of scripture and remove 1-2 words to allow the patient to fill in the blanks {ex. For God so loved the {world}; How {Great} thou art; Jesus love {me}}
  7. Music—often songs bring back memories of days gone by
  8. Computer based games such as Smartbrain
  9. Dominoes or Qwirkle
  10. Household Chores—this is great for more advances cased. Simple task such as folding socks or washcloths, planting seeds, mixing ingredients, dusting, etc.

 

What exercises do you use to stimulate the mind?

elder group

The importance of Fellowship and Outings in the Elderly

Just because we are getting older, does not mean we don't need fellowship with our peers
Just because we are getting older, does not mean we don’t need fellowship with our peers

We all need fellowship with our friends and peers.

I’ve met some families that long to constantly take family members out.  I’ve met other family members that refuse to take their family members out, although it is enjoyable for that person.

There are instances when it is not possible to have outings, such as if the person is bed bound.

However, short outings are encouraged for the elderly.

Doing so gets them out and about and allows them to interrupt with others.

Socialization is important for the elderly.  This is one of the benefits of adult day care, retirement centers or skilled nursing care.

However, even if a person is home bound short outings are still good for them.

These can include:

We all need fellowship
We all need fellowship
  • Going out to eat
  • Riding into town and back
  • A walk through nature {or a ride}
  • Having a friend visit
  • Family gatherings
  • Doctor visits
  • Personal Care Outings {Hair, Nails, etc.}

How do you help your loved one have fellowship and outings?

hands-compassion

Caregiving Monday: 10 Activities for sensory stimulation with dementia

Are you looking for ideas for sensory stimulation with your loved one that has dementia?

Hand massages provides that personal touch and says I care
Hand massages provides that personal touch and says I care

If you’re not sure what I mean, sensory stimulation uses the five senses of sight, touch, hearing, taste and feel to hopefully evoke positive emotions.

I’ve discussed numerous activities with music, but what are some others that can be completed?

  1. Hand massage or shoulder massage—these are always a big hit when we do them in the nursing facility where I work. {touch}
  2. Relaxation satchel—these don’t have to be fancy and if your loved one is higher functioning s/he can assist you in making them. We used clean new or clean socks and filled them about half full with rice.  We then took drops of one essential oil {such as lavender}, added to the rice and mixed to spread the scent.  We then tied the sock off.  The sock could be used to provoke various memories or to calm an agitated loved one {especially if you use lavender}.    {smell}
  3. You can use a keyboard {or look them up online} to play various sounds and help your loved one recognize what they are. Some examples are a doorbell, train whistle, piano, car horn, etc.   {listening}
  4. Ice cream—this is a treat most people love and can evoke positive memories. Use the treat to reminisce.  {taste}
  5. Pictures—looking through pictures, reminiscing and discussing who each person in the picture is helps with memory recall {seeing}

    ice cream prompts positive memories
    ice cream prompts positive memories
  6. Bubbles—many of my residents love the bubbles. They enjoy both watching them and trying to grab them and make them pop.  This can be a lot of fun.  {seeing, touch}
  7. Flower arranging—the resident can look at the various flowers, sort them by color or type and smell the flowers. {seeing, touch, smell}
  8. Herbal tea party—fix a cup of hot tea and honey, milk, or sugar as desired.  Discuss the flavors found in the tea.    {taste}
  9. Shell discovery—hide shells in a small box or pail and have your loved one pick out different ones and discuss their differences. Even if it’s just how small or large they are this can be a fun activity.   {touch}
  10. Check out a DVD from the library of a place your loved one may have visited or lived in. Videos of scenery or animals are a great idea to discuss what s/he is seeing.  You could also look at pictures of these places s/he has and listen to a CD of music or sounds from that place.  {seeing, listening}

What are some sensory stimulation activities you have used?