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Introduction And Activities

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Hi,

 

This is my first post, and this thread seemed the most appropriate place. My name is Gary Pratt and I'm especially interested in 1 on 1 activities that you can do with older individuals, especially those challenged by Alzheimer's. My father has it and continues to lose bits of himself each day. But it's interesting that things that he once would not have done he now is starting to like. Most notably dancing and listening to music.

 

I'm interested in any thoughts anyone has on the matter. I've just launched a company that deals with this issue ( http://www.inventiveplay.com ) and will be providing downloads of activities that one can do with the person they look after. Each person varies so much on what they like and what they're capable of. What do you consider your biggest challenge is (as activity directors) and what have you found the most helpful?

 

Thanks,

 

Gary

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Hi Gary,

Working with people that have Alzheimer, Dementia or any kind of cognitive loss is hard. I am able to deal with it and can come up ways to keep them involved, for the most part. But when it was my grandmother & father-in- law I was unable to cope woth it as I do with others. I guess I was to close to the source.

The hardest thing is keeping them occupied with meaniful activites, the attention span is so short. You do learn how to keep certain res. away from each other for some reasons certain combinations cause a conflick and the fights begin. Most persons with Alzheimers may forget names, faces, words etc.. but they can remember words to songs without missing a beat.

Animals are usually a good combination, but not always. Know your res. before present one to the.

I have found a few things that have worked; get an old purse and fill with various items. Leave it sitting around or give it to a female res. She will dig in that purse, empty it out and start the process all over agin. This can keep her busy for hours. Do the same thing with a dresser, filling the drawers up. Set out a basket of towels & washclothes. The ladies will start to fold these. Keep out a broom & dust pan, itme to keep a house they will use these. I once had my dad make a board up with itmes like a lawn mower carb, different kinds of door locks, a telephine, just a array of items & the men would use this board all of the time. All of them at one time or another would use the phone. Go to your local video staor and ask them for there old posters & the cardboard figures that stand up. Res. talk to them & think they are real people. Use finger foods with them, they forget how to use silverware &/or forget to finish eating. Finger foods they can carry around with them. This will help ensure that they don't lose to much weight. Remember to offer them lots of water & fluids. They forget to drink which causes a lot of problems for them. If a res. wanders towards the door try putting up a stop sign, or you can paint a black 1/2 circle on the floor infront of the door. They think it is a hole & will not cross it. Set up benchs with bus stop signs, lots of them think they are traveling.

However the most important thing of all is that no matter how bizzare the things they say or express it is real to them! They are in their own world & we usually can't bring the back to ours without confussion and other problems. So you need to go to theirs and help them deal with that tiger in the bathroom or whatever it is.

I don't know if this waht you are looking for or even if it will help but here it is ;-) P

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Hi, Gary! :-)

 

I was just at your site and it contains wonderful content for care givers. Thanks for starting this company...it is truly needed. Also, welcome to this site. Be sure to list your company on our web links page. You will find a link to it in the Main Menu box on the upper left of this page.

 

Best wishes, ;-)

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Thank for the ideas (and compliments). Both of you.

 

There seems to be so much pain out there. I'm using the company as a way to cope as well as help. It's difficult looking at my dad and remembering what a brainiac he once was. I read as much as I can on the subject, and we're working with some medical professionals, but dealing with AD is tough, there's not doubt about it.

 

Your thoughts on repetition and simplicity are helpful, and I've found the words and song piece ring true. Something about the power of music. It really touches people's souls.

 

Gary

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GARY,

I JUST HAD A CHANCE TO PEEK AT YOUR SITE - IT LOOKS GREAT - I CAN'T WAIT TO LOOK AROUND MORE!

I AM GLAD YOU FOUND OUR SITE AND HOPE WE CAN HELP EACH OTHER OUT.

THANKS FOR SENDING US YOUR SITE!

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Hi,

 

This is my first post, and this thread seemed the most appropriate place. My name is Gary Pratt and I'm especially interested in 1 on 1 activities that you can do with older individuals, especially those challenged by Alzheimer's. My father has it and continues to lose bits of himself each day. But it's interesting that things that he once would not have done he now is starting to like. Most notably dancing and listening to music.

 

I'm interested in any thoughts anyone has on the matter. I've just launched a company that deals with this issue ( http://www.inventiveplay.com ) and will be providing downloads of activities that one can do with the person they look after. Each person varies so much on what they like and what they're capable of. What do you consider your biggest challenge is (as activity directors) and what have you found the most helpful?

 

Thanks,

 

Gary

 

Good day, Gary

My name is Nicole- I am a life enrichment director in a tampa home. We have many resident guests at different levels of Alzheminars. We provide over 18 programs a day for 2 different types of levels. Our home programs gears toward simple household task for men/women-simple that is a 1-step task and is successful at thier levels. Laundry duty, shoe shining, ball room movements-dance in motion, physical task-gardening, fishing, sweeping, setting tables, bird care, and provide alot of cooking task for snacks, making sandwiches, the best on yet that works well is arm cycling with travel movies/good old lawrence welks tapes- 30 minutes-all levels respond greatly to constant arm motion and sing to old songs. The biggest challenge is the short attention span 0-5 minutes and providing equipment at all times. I will be visiting your website-we are always looking for new ways, due to my child is heading to become a teenager, I used alot of program ideas/interaction skills by seeing things through my child.

 

Gary- please look at your father and others at each stage-on what they can do at this time, not what they no longer can do. Try to reflect on his memories of what he was, to assist you in finding things to do.

Edited by jnc1214

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A lot of my music work is with people with alzheimers and to be honest I don't really see a lot of sadness or pain- most of the places I work go out of their way to provide a really fun and caring environment. i hear residents saying all the time 'I never had so much fun in my life!' which makes me so happy.

 

Family members do suffer because they are losing bit by bit parts of someone close, it's a kind of bereavement, but as a musician and entertainer I only tend to see all the wonderful aspects of working with the illness: people helping each other above and beyond the call of duty, the love that pours out of so many of the residents and staff, and the fun activities we get up to.

 

I'm putting together a book about music and memory loss, there are techniques to help people focus and stay on track, but the biggest technique is your own open-minded calm, if you are relaxed and accepting about whatever is happening, and happy to redirect over and over if something may be hazardous, otherwise let the person find their own meaningful experiences in the activities they still remember how to do, if only partially...that's the best approach I think. People need to feel self-determining and independent as much as possible.

 

It's very exhausting for a full-time carer, and no one should ever feel bad if they can't cope with full-time care; I work in this field and I doubt I could.

 

Nursing homes are so much much better places than the first one I worked in 25 years ago in the UK, and people with alzheimers can have a high quality of life just like people with many other illnesses or disabilities.

 

Good luck! Email me if I can be any help mail@tracypace.com

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