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Learning Center for Alzheimer's and Dementia | Keeping Busy

  1. One Person Can Make a Difference...

    One Person Can Make a Difference...

    A few months ago we were contacted by Brynnley Jefferis, an eight grade student in Pennsylvania. As a school project Brynnley chose to raise money for Alzheimer's and dementia patients in memory of her grandfather who had recently died of the disease.

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  2. Getting the Most From Dementia Jigsaw Puzzles

    Getting the Most From Dementia Jigsaw Puzzles

    Puzzles such as our Sequenced Jigsaw Puzzles that are designed to help people with dementia successfully enjoy a favorite pastime are an excellent cognitive exercise, not to mention lots of fun.

    But they can be much more.

    In a recent review for our Around the Bird Feeder puzzle on, a customer wrote:

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  3. Celebrating Mother's Day - Professional Caregivers

    Mother’s Day is one of those big day, special occasions in most long term care facilities - there is an anticipation much like Valentine’s Day. One of the reasons for this is that families try to ensure that they visit on Mother’s Day and there is a tradition of celebrating the occasion. Extra care is taken to ensure that everyone will look their best for the day and it feels like a very special day.

    Mother’s Day celebrations don’t have to be one big event and it may be more enjoyable and meaningful for residents with dementia if there were several smaller programs in the week leading up to the big day.

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  4. Celebrating Mother's Day - Family and Friends

    Celebrating Mother's Day - Family and Friends

    Mother’s Day is a special day for most families, and that makes it particularly difficult when Mom is living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. It is difficult for the person with dementia because they may not understand why things are different, and it is difficult for family and loved ones because they struggle trying to determine how to celebrate the day.

    With a bit of thought and planning, there is no reason that Mother’s Day cannot be celebrated in an enjoyable and meaningful way, but you may have to think about it differently.

    While giving gifts is enjoyable for both the gift giver and recipient, it is not (or shouldn’t be) the essence of celebrating Mother’s Day with someone with dementia. More important is engaging the person in meaningful activity, giving them the opportunity to be successful and to feel proud.

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  5. Early Signs of Dementia

    As we get older, it is common to experience various forms of memory loss. We misplace things, forget appointments and can't quite find the right word. If there is no underlying medical condition, this is known as "age-associated memory impairment" and is considered to be part of normal aging.

    How do we differentiate between this normal part of the aging process and the early stages of dementia?

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  6. The Importance of Roles for People with Dementia

    The Importance of Roles for People with Dementia

    It is very common for us to take over many of the everyday tasks for people with dementia because we can do it faster or better. It can start in small ways - the buttons on a shirt are tiny so you offer to do them. Over time, it becomes more pervasive - no matter the size of the buttons, the person no longer attempts to button their own shirt. Rather they sit passively as someone takes over this job.

    It is important to avoid this progression, even though in the short term it may seem to make sense. By taking over everyday tasks for the person:

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  7. Making the Most of Father's Day (and beyond)

    Making the Most of Father's Day (and beyond)

    Father's Day is a celebration held in many countries around the world to honor fathers and show appreciation and love for all that they have done in helping raise the family. In Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and many other countries, it is celebrated on the third Sunday in June, which is June 18 this year.

    Father’s Day offers a great opportunity to draw on a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s interests and past experiences to make it a special day.

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  8. Pocket Packs - A Multi-Purpose Activity Set

    Pocket Packs - A Multi-Purpose Activity Set

    Pocket Packs might be our favorite product for people with dementia and Alzheimer's. They are convenient, easy to use, appealing to the interests of many and can be offered to provide appropriate challenge for different levels of ability. They come about as close to "one size fits all" as possible.

    There are five different Pocket Packs, including

    • Dice game
    • Playing card sorting
    • Photo strip puzzle
    • "Expressions" word game
    • Photo matching activity
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  9. Beyond Bingo and Back

    Beyond Bingo and Back

    In 2008 a group of researchers presented a workshop titled “Beyond Bingo and Painted Nails: Meaningful Activity for Persons with Dementia” at the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry Annual Conference. The somewhat cynical title was chosen to suggest that the all too common activities of playing bingo and painting residents’ fingernails was perhaps not the most effective way to engage residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

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  10. When is a Deck of Cards Not Just a Deck of Cards?

    When is a Deck of Cards Not Just a Deck of Cards?

    We are often asked what the difference is between our products for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s and the basic materials that you can buy off the shelf.

    In many cases, the “core” of the activity is a familiar, common item, and in fact, that’s one of the benefits. People are more comfortable around familiar items and will often have an automatic, pleasurable response. The more familiar the materials are to the person, the more they will "connect" with the items and the more opportunity there is for reminiscing and having a successful and meaningful activity.

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