Archive for category Caregiving

Teepa Snow, Leading Expert on Dementia

This week, I had the opportunity to attend a work shop on dementia by one of America’s leading experts on the topic; Teepa Snow.  It was both informative, and funny as she kept our attention the entire six hours.  Below, is a clip from her site.  She has a great deal of information you can use to improve your care for those with dementia.

http://teepasnow.com/resources/teepa-tips-videos/dementia-101/

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Doll Therapy

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Have you considered doll therapy when working with individuals with memory loss?  This article lists the pros and cons.  Overall, I think the benefits can be tremendous.  I have observed elderly women in long-term care who talk to their doll and care for it.  The doll is very comforting and provides great joy to the patient.

I just recently watched a documentary on adults- both men and women who are serious doll collectors (Barbie dolls and Reborn dolls) and they have no memory loss.  Some women even bring their Reborn dolls out in public and push them in strollers.

I think it’s a great idea.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/10/03/495655678/doll-therapy-may-help-calm-people-with-dementia-but-it-has-critics

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Eugenia Smiled

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Do you work with seniors who have end-stage (or advanced) Alzheimer’s?  Have you found it challenging to connect to them in a meaningful way?  It can be difficult without knowing something about what they used to enjoy.  Below is a story of Eugenia, a senior who was 100 years old and was told that she didn’t need a volunteer.  Not only did she have an advanced case of Alzheimer’s, she was partially blind and had hearing difficulties.

A volunteer coordinator decided to place a volunteer with Eugenia every day of the week.  Each day volunteers read to her.  Volunteers also oriented Eugenia to her surroundings and the time.  Week after week, Eugenia continued to be unaware of the companionship she was receiving.  But one day, a young volunteer sang his university’s fight song.  Then it happened- Eugenia’s feet began to tap.  She bobbed her head and lifted her eyes.  With all eyes on Eugenia, she looked up and spread her lips and smiled.

It took time and patience.  It took finding what Eugenia needed to connect to the outside world.  Her smile meant so much to those volunteers- they had finally made a connection.  What she needed was music!

http://seniorsmiles.org/about-us/stories

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Pets and The Elderly- Some Considerations

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When thinking about the care an individual needs who has Alzheimer’s, we often forget about the other creatures we should check on too- their pets.  This is never something I considered- until I read this article.

There will come a point in time, when an individual with Alzheimer’s may be unable to care for a pet.  A case example of this, is listed below.  Certainly, caregivers need to do everything possible to ensure that a pet, or pets at home are cared for as long as possible.  Pets can provide tremendous companionship, entertainment, and stimulation to their owners.   However, when an individual with Alzheimer’s, (or other illnesses) can no longer care for the pet and the pet’s well-being is truly at stake, something must be done.

It may be possible to find another loving home for the pet.  Below, is a story of a worst-case scenario of a pet being neglected due to the owner’s illness, but rescued and given proper care.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/12/22/obese-cat-covered-in-pounds-matted-fur-recovering-in-new-home.html

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Human Connection- It’s Vital

This is one of the most touching videos I have ever seen.  It reminds me that there are so many people in our community that are lonely (particularly seniors who live alone) and how much a human connection means.  We all need to “adopt” someone like Dan.

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Hasbro’s Robotic Pet Therapy

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Modern technology has produced something very special- a new companion for the elderly who have Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  It is a Robotic Pet and it acts similar to a live pet, but it never runs away, has to be fed, or must make an expensive trip to the vet!  These pets give these seniors a true companion and would be terrific for any activity program.  The video is short, but very sweet and shows how these pets can make a real difference to your loved one.  You can find these at Walmart.com.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/5177109640001/are-robots-the-future-of-therapy-animals/?#sp=show-clips

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The Benefits of Volunteering for Seniors

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This was a very interesting article related to volunteers over age 50.  It was conducted in 2005 and 2006 and published in the journal of The Gerontologist.  It showed that there were three important factors that were most beneficial to the volunteer, and produced the best outcomes:

  • Receiving a choice of activities (or areas in which to volunteer) and flexibility to work within their own schedules
  • Receiving an adequate training from the organization
  • Receiving on-going support from the organization

When the seniors received all of these items, they were more satisfied and fulfilled in their position.  When followed up a year later, these seniors reported they had “socioemotional” benefits which included:  significant improvements in their mental health, a greater feeling of productivity, increased social activity, and an overall sense that their life had improved.

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_seniors_get_from_giving_back

 

 

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