Thursday, 3 April 2014

SAT/26APR14 - ADFM Free Talks on "The Behavioural & Psychological Symptoms of Dementia" & "Use of Medication for Dementia"

Dear Caregivers and families, 

ADFM National Caregivers Support Network will be holding the following two talks by Assoc Prof Stephen Jambunathan for the monthly Caregivers Sharing Session in April 2014. 


TOPIC: 
(1)  “The Behavioural & Psychological Symptoms of Dementia – Understanding the Big Picture of Dementia”, and  
(2)  “The Use of Medication for Dementia”

Date:  Saturday, 26 April 2014
Time:  2.30pm – 5.00pm  
Venue:  ADFM PJ Daycare Centre, No. 6 Lorong 11/8E, 46200 Petaling Jaya.

PROGRAM:
1.30pm   Taking Attendance
2.00pm    Video Presentation Titled "Ah Kong" 
2.30pm
·         “The Behavioural & Psychological Symptoms of Dementia – Understanding the Big Picture of Dementia”

Q & A Session

·         “The Use of Medication for Dementia”

 Q & A Session

5.00pm   Refreshment/End


Speaker’s Profile:


Assoc Prof. Stephen Jambunathan is a Counsultant Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist with University Malaya Medical Center [UMMC] and University Malaya Specialist Center [UMSC].

He began his career in 1992, at the Seremban Hospital. His area of expertise is in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (non-pharmacological psychotherapeutic interventions). He is affiliated to a number of professional organizations, including the international Asian Bipolar Educational Committee, Committee Member, and the International Harm Reduction Association. He has published two books and recent contributions include publications in the Annals of General Psychiatry, and the ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry. He has participated in 15 research projects, as well as consulted on 21 others. He was awarded the Anugerah Cemerlang, University Malaya in 2007.

PARTICIPANTS: Caregivers and all those who directly or indirectly are involved in the care of persons living with dementia.  

COMPULSORY PRE-REGISTRATION :  

Click on Registration Form and email to jenny@adfm.org.my or Fax to 03 7960 8482. 

Further information, email jenny@adfm.org.my or call 016 608 2513 / 03 7931 5850.

Kindly register early by 21 April for logistics arrangement.




From:  ADFM National Caregivers Support Network
April 2014 







Thursday, 6 March 2014

UK GOVERNMENT APPOINTS WORLD DEMENTIA ENVOY

In A News Release on 28 February 2014, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) welcomes the appointment of Dr Dennis Gillings as the World Dementia Envoy, who plans to create a World Dementia Council to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. The announcement was made by the UK government as part of a new dementia package which aims to speed up diagnosis, fund research and encourage businesses and services in the country to become dementia-friendly.

Dr Dennis Gillings is Founder of Quintiles, the world’s largest provider of biopharmaceutical development services, and has provided consultancy to numerous companies and health organisations, including the National Cancer Institute and the Institute of Medicine.

As the global voice on dementia, ADI hopes the World Dementia Envoy will generate new funding streams around the world, helping to sustain the crucial collaborative action that is now required from all nations. 

Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Disease International comments:

“ADI is very pleased that the British government is taking steps towards improving diagnosis and stigma tackling for people with dementia. We believe that timely diagnosis and involving businesses in developing more dementia friendly environments will make a difference to the everyday lives of people with dementia and their carers. To stop the growing dementia epidemic, we need significantly higher research budgets like the world has provided for cancer and HIV/AIDS.  The appointment of the Envoy and the creation of a World Dementia Council will boost research and innovation and should help to take advantage of increasing funding opportunities provided by governments, encourage the public to donate more to Alzheimer associations, many of which already fund research, and reach out to sources that have not been involved before.”


Alongside the Envoy, ADI will continue to lead, with its member associations, a global task force that focuses on facilitating research, developing dementia friendly communities and awareness initiatives, and improving health and social care systems.


(Source:  ADI, News Release, 28 February 2014)

REPORT SHOWS UNDER NUTRITION AS A MAJOR PROBLEM AMONG PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA

A new report, released on 11 February 2014, highlights that under nutrition is a major problem among people with dementia, and stresses the importance of recognizing nutrition as a potential key factor in the well being of people with dementia.

Research reviewed in the report finds that 20-45% of those with dementia in the community experience clinically significant weight loss over one year.

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and Compass Group commissioned a team of researchers, led by Professor Martin Prince from the King’s College London Global Observatory for Ageing and Dementia Care, to produce the report ‘Nutrition and dementia: a review of available research.

The report reviews existing research on dietary factors across the life course that might increase or decrease the risk of developing dementia in later life. While obesity in mid-life may be a risk factor for developing dementia in late life, weight loss tends to become a more significant issue in the decade leading up to the clinical onset of the disease and accelerates thereafter.

The report also details actions that could improve the nutrition of people with dementia through diet and external factors such as modifying the meal time environment, and supporting and training carers. Given the evidence for effective interventions, there is much untapped potential to improve the food intake and nutritional status of people with dementia.

Professor Prince, from King’s College London, says: “For older people, under nutrition is arguably a greater health concern than obesity, and it is particularly common among people with dementia. This is a neglected area of research with important implications for quality of life, health and functioning. While weight loss in dementia is very common and can be an intrinsic part of the disease, it could be avoided and we should be doing more to tackle the problem.”


Marc Wortmann, Executive Director, ADI, says: “I am very pleased that ADI and Compass Group commissioned this report. We believe that a focus on diet, nutrition and well being is a positive approach to supporting people with dementia and carers of this devastating disease. The report also shows we need more research into the potential role of nutrition in reducing the risk of developing dementia.”

The Report recommends that:

·      The adoption of nutritional standards of care for people with dementia should be considered throughout the health and social care sectors. These could include regular monitoring of weight, as well as assessments of diet and feeding behaviors, and the need for feeding assistance.
·      Family and professional carers should be trained and supported to understand and meet the challenges involved in maintaining adequate nutrition for people with dementia.
·      Evidence-based advice should be provided to inform consumer choices regarding the balance of risks and benefits associated with the use of nutritional supplements claimed to protect cognition in late life, before or after the onset of dementia.
·      More research should be conducted into the effective components of a diet that might prevent dementia and the progression of mild cognitive impairment.


(Source:  ADI, News Release, 11 February 2014)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Dear Caregivers,

Please be advised that ADFM National Caregivers Support Network has organized the following two talks for the monthly sharing session in March 2014. 

Date:  Saturday, 22 March 2014
Time:  2.00pm – 4.30pm
Venue:  ADFM PJ Daycare Centre, No. 6 Lorong 11/8E, 46200 Petaling Jaya.

PROGRAM:
1.30pm   Taking Attendance

2.00pm   Talk “Incontinence in Persons Living with Dementia” by Dato  Dr Selvalingam Sothilingam, Consultant Urologist, Hospital KL  and Tunku Mizan Military Hospital, Sessional Consultant of Pantai  KL Medical Centre  

2.45pm   Q & A Session

3.15pm  Talk “Pelvic Floor Muscle (PFM) Rehabilitation for Persons with Incontinence” & work out session by Puan Suhaila Shohaimi, Physiotherapist, PPUKM

4.30pm  Refreshment/End

SYNOPSIS:
(1)  Incontinence in Persons Living with Dementia 
As dementia progresses into the middle stage, some people may begin to experience loss of bladder or bowel control (incontinence).  While the nature and severity of incontinence can vary among individuals, all persons with dementia will experience incontinence in the late stage of the disease.  There are many causes, as well as ways to help manage incontinence. How you respond can help the person with dementia retain a sense of dignity.

(2)  Pelvic Floor Muscle (PFM) Rehabilitation for Persons with Incontinence
To increase awareness of PFM and its function.  To educate proper technique of PFM exercise.  Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles will help you actively support your bladder and bowel, improves bladder and bowel control and can reduce or stop leakage of urine and bowel motions.

PARTICIPANTS:
Caregivers and their families, Nurses/Carers from Allied Health Sector & all those who directly or indirectly are involved in the care of persons with dementia.  

Certificate of Attendance will be awarded to participants from Allied Health sector. 

COMPULSORY PRE-REGISTRATION :  First-Come-First-Served Basis:
1.   Email Registration Form to jenny@adfm.org.my or Fax to 03 7960 8482.
2.  SMS 016 608 2513 indicating full name, Caregiver  (Yes / No), and Tel/mobile contacts, if you do not have access to email.

Further information, contact  jenny@adfm.org.my or call 016 608 2513 / 03 7931 5850.




From: National Caregivers Support  Network 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

VIDEO – DEMENTIA FRIENDLY STORE

Take a few minutes to watch this inspiring Video produced by the Taiwan Alzheimer's Disease Association (TADA) and the Taiwan Rotary International 3520.   


The Future of Retail for the Persons Living with Dementia?

English Version:
Ms Wong, a retiree, takes care of her 88 years old Mom diagnosed with dementia. Her mother is very active, and often runs out and loses her way home.

Ms Wong approached her neighbourhood business community for help. She asked that they allow her dementia afflicted Mom to eat in their food stalls if she came there, and at the same time to contact her. She would then come and take her Mother home, and make the payment to them for any food her mother had ordered.

Her 88 year old Mom also frequently likes to visit the same grocery shop. She liked to buy and take home things like coat-hangars and other provisions by the dozens. The whole family was very disturbed. Ms Wong arranged with the grocery shop owner to allow her Mom to take home the goods. The family would then return the goods intact in exchange for other provisions which the family required. Understanding the challenges and hardship of the caregiver and family, the owner of the grocery shop readily agreed to help the family.

The Wong family was very grateful and hoped that more and more businesses would come forward to offer their help to the caregiver families of persons living with dementia and older adults in their neighbourhood.

This joint family and community effort will not only greatly alleviate the mental stress and hardship of home-caregivers but also help towards creating a friendly society and environment for dementia afflicted persons and older adults.

[Note] : " Rui Chi " stands for valuing the life and past contributions of elderly persons living with dementia; reducing the stigma; helping society to accept and include them; empathizing and offering help and support to caregivers and families caring for persons with dementia and older adults.

Mandarin Version:
退休的黃女士照顧85歲失智的媽媽,媽媽行動能力強,經常往外跑­,已多次走失。黃女士請社區商家老闆們協助,如果看到媽媽自行出­門,請老闆協助留下媽媽並請她吃東西,事後黃女士買單。同時請老­闆與她聯絡,讓她順利帶媽媽回家。 88歲的陳奶奶經常至同一家雜貨店買衣架,她家裡衣架有數十打,­令家人十分困擾。於是家人與雜貨店老闆商量,如果媽媽買重複的東­西,由家人原封不動拿回來與老闆換等值之其他物品。老闆體諒家人­照顧之辛苦,欣然答應幫忙。 我們感謝這麼多好心的商家,更期盼連結更多商家,藉著社區鄰里守­望相助,發揮老吾老以及人之老之精神,共同照顧快速增加的失智長­者,減輕家庭照顧壓力。同時未來照顧人力減少,無法單靠家庭來照­顧,勢必要靠整個社區共同互相照顧。此計畫期盼將日常生活中食、­衣、住、行、育樂各商家串連起來,一起加入共同照護網絡,不但能­減輕失智家庭照護的辛苦,也能為商家提升業績及公益形象。


【註】:「瑞智」意涵 - 看重失智長者之生命價值,肯定長者過去對社會之貢獻,減少污名化­,幫助民眾接納與包容失智長者,同理家屬們之辛苦,並給予支持力­量。

(Source:  Taiwan ADA)

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Think Twice About Giving Elders Nutritional Drinks or Shakes

"My elderly mother isn't eating and she has lost a lot of weight.  Should I give her a nutrition supplement drink to replace the meals she should be eating?"

Under-nutrition due to lack of eating is a common problem among elderly people. It is also dangerous. Under-nutrition and extreme thinness can lead to higher mortality rates, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It is a problem that can't be ignored.

Geriatricians (specialists in treating the elderly) take weight loss among the elderly very seriously and caregivers should, too. However, some caregivers feel that feeding their parent a nutrition supplement drink, such as Boost, in lieu of meals ensures the elderly loved one is getting the nutrition they need. This isn't the case, according to Dr. Amy Ehrlich, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Interim Division Head of Montefiore Medical Center's Geriatrics Division.

"Just giving them a can of Ensure for dinner isn't enough," she says. "It is always better to try to use regular food to maintain a person's weight." If a caregiver wants to use nutrition drinks, they should be used between meals, as a snack or supplement to add calories to the senior's diet – not as a meal replacement.

Work with a doctor to determine elder's nutrition needs

Weight loss is a marker of frailty. However, it is not a normal part of aging. Dr. Ehrlich stresses that it is critical to find out what is causing the senior's loss of interest in food. A doctor should conduct a detailed medical evaluation to determine the cause of loss in appetite and weight loss. "There are a variety of treatable conditions that could be the culprit: ulcers, thyroid disease, dementia, depression, even ill-fitting dentures. All are treatable, so rather than immediately turning to a supplement, work with your doctor to address the cause of the problem," Dr Ehrlich says.

If a caregiver does decide a nutrition drink is right for their elderly loved one, a doctor should still be consulted to determine the type of supplement to use. For example, diabetics must choose a low-sugar product.

Frail elderly have different nutrition requirements

There is a misperception that frail elderly people should adhere to the same low-fat, low-calorie diet that is recommended for the general population. However, Dr. Ehrlich says that for frail elderly who have substantial weight loss, the opposite is true. "I'll see a 94-year-old person who is losing weight and he is restricting everything, eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet. It would be better to eat a bowl of ice cream, for the caloric intake!"

Elders who have experienced weight loss should eat what they like. And don't be afraid to incorporate eggs, cheese, peanut butter…even ice cream into the diet.
There is no need for low-fat milk or cheese.

Elders often can't (or don't want to) eat three large meals a day. Rather, encourage them to have smaller, more frequent meals, including snacks, even before bed.

Nutrition drinks and supplements can interact with medications

Supplements, including nutrition drinks, can cause dangerous drug interactions in the same way prescription medications do.

If an elder is taking prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements, the drugs may conflict and, basically, go to war against each other, while also damaging otherwise functioning body organs and systems. Check with your doctor to avoid interactions. "I encourage my patients to bring in all their medications, supplements and vitamins, so I can check for possible interactions. I call it the 'brown bag visit," Dr. Ehrlich says. As an example, vitamin supplements may negatively interact with blood thinners like Coumadin. 

The bottom line is that nutrition drinks are not a magic fix for lack of eating or under-nutrition. These products are not bad when used as a dietary aid and supplement to regular meals. However, they should not be used as a meal replacement for elders – especially those who are frail or thin.

(Source:  Agingcare.com - Dr. Amy Ehrlich MD is Geriatrics Fellowship Program Director for Montefiore Medical Center's Geriatrics Division in New York and an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine. She is board certified in Geriatric Medicine and Internal Medicine.)


(POSTED 16 FEBRUARY 2014) 


Thursday, 23 January 2014

BEWARE OF GRAPEFRUIT DRUG INTERACTIONS

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice are good for you -- unless you're on one of an increasingly wide range of medications that interact with them. A report published by CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) indicates the number of drugs affected by grapefruit juice is on the rise.  More than 85 drugs are now identified as problematic -- and many are commonly used by people over age 45.

The problem centered around compounds in grapefruit called furanocoumarins, which can block an enzyme in the gut that metabolizes certain drugs. This can lead to higher-than-normal levels of certain oral drugs getting into the bloodstream. Less frequently, grapefruit can block drug transporters, leading to an insufficient dose of medication. Just one whole grapefruit or an 8-ounce glass of juice can interact with drugs up to three days after consumption.

Effects vary from person to person. Serious adverse effects can include acute kidney failure, respiratory depression, rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown that can lead to kidney damage), gastrointestinal bleeding and torsade de pointes - a potentially fatal increase in heart rhythm.

Current advice from experts is to avoid consuming grapefruit and its juice if you're on a drug that interacts with it. The same recommendation goes for Seville oranges (often used in marmalade), limes, pomelos and tangelos, which have also been found to interfere with drug metabolism. (Sweet oranges, such as navel and Valencia, don't contain furanocoumarins and remain safe to eat.)

In addition, the Food and Drug Administration advises you to:

·     Ask your pharmacist about potential interactions when you fill a prescription.
·    Read the patient information that comes with your prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
·   Check the labels of fruit juices and other drinks to make sure they don't contain grapefruit juice, if you're on one or more drugs that interact.



(Source:  John Hopkins Health Alert, Posted in Healthy Living on 8 January 2014)


WHAT IS GERIATRICS?

Caring for Older Adults

Older adults have special healthcare needs that can make their medical care more complicated.  More than half of adults age 65 and older have 3 or more medical problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, or high blood pressure.

Caring for older people with multiple health problems can be tricky, even for healthcare professionals who specialize in GERIATRICS, the medical care of older adults. 

For example, prescribing medications for a patient with multiple health problems is more complex.  A drug that might be useful in treating one health problem can make another problem worse, and taking multiple medications can cause problematic drug interactions and side effects. 

Who Provides Geriatric Care?

A GERIATRICIAN is a doctor who is specially trained to evaluate and manage the unique healthcare needs and treatment preferences of older people.

Geriatricians are board-certified internists or family physicians who have additional training and certification in geriatrics. 

Because of their special training, geriatricians typically provide care for frail older people who have the most complicated medical and social problems.


Who Needs to See a Geriatrician?

While primary care physicians - general internists and family physicians - care for most old people, geriatricians frequently provide the primary care for older adults who have the most complicated medical and social problems.  Also, because of their unique qualifications and training, geriatricians are often sought to provide consultations for the frailest of older persons.

A Geriatrician should be consulted when:

·      An older person’s condition causes considerable impairment and frailty. These patients tend to be over the age of 75 and have a number of diseases and disabilities, including cognitive (memory) problems.

·      Family members and friends are under considerable stress as caregivers.

·      Family members and patients have trouble following complex treatments, or dealing with many healthcare professionals for their multiple health problems.

Geriatrics: The Team Approach

Geriatrics is known for its team approach to caring for older people and supporting their families and other caregivers.  The geriatrics care team may include but not be limited to any or all of the following professionals:

·           Geriatrician
·           Nurse
·           Physician assistant
·           Social worker
·           Consultant pharmacist
·           Nutritionist
·           Physical therapist
·           Occupational therapist
·           Speech and hearing specialist
·           Geriatric psychiatrist

These professionals evaluate the older person’s medical, social, emotional, and other needs. The team also focuses on health concerns common in older people such as incontinence, falls, memory problems, and managing multiple chronic conditions and medications.

The Geriatrics Team:

·      Evaluates the patient’s social supports and living situation.
·      Considers the person’s ability to perform daily activities such as bathing, dressing and eating.

Gives special attention to patient preferences and values in care planning.



(Source:  Helthinaging.org)

Friday, 3 January 2014

SHADOWING IN ALZHEIMER'S : WHAT IS SHADOWING AND HOW CAN YOU COPE WITH IT?

What Is Shadowing?

Shadowing is when people with Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia constantly follow their caregivers around. They may mimic him, walk wherever he goes, and become very anxious if the caregiver tries to spend any time away from them.

Why Do People with Dementia Shadow Their Caregivers?

Often, shadowing appears to be driven by the person's anxiety and uncertainty. They may feel like their caregiver is the one safe and known aspect of life, almost like a life preserver. The minute the caregiver walks into a different room, goes outside or shuts a door to use the bathroom, the person with Alzheimer's may become afraid, unsure and upset.

Why Is Shadowing Thought of as a Challenging Behavior?

While shadowing isn't one of the more typical challenging behaviors such as aggressiveness or paranoia, it can present a significant challenge. Caregivers dealing with shadowing often report a feeling of claustrophobia, where they're constantly with their loved one and never allowed to do anything alone. Even taking a shower without interruption can be a challenge for a caregiver.

How Can Caregivers Cope with Shadowing?

One way to reduce the frustration of being constantly followed around is to remind yourself that your family member is afraid and anxious. How you interpret their behavior (as a result of fear instead of as purposely trying to irritate you) can make all the difference.

For example, one gentleman I knew felt like his wife was trying to control his every action and interaction because she was continuously following him around and wouldn't even let him work in the garage alone. While this behavior was extremely frustrating, his perception of her acting this way in order to control him made things worse.

Recognizing shadowing as a reaction to anxiety and confusion can help provide extra energy to respond to it.

Additionally, it is imperative that you as a caregiver find a way to escape periodically. Even the most dedicated, loving and patient caregiver needs a break. To protect your emotional well-being, allow yourself some private time to take a shower or take some deep breaths. You can set a timer and remind your loved one that you'll be back when the timer sounds.

Maybe a neighbor will take a walk with your loved one, or a respite caregiver can spend a couple of hours with your loved one while you go to a support group. Is there another family member or friend who can regularly visit? You may also want to check on adult day care centers that have programs for people with dementia. Whatever it is, taking some kind of time off can refill your emotional energy and allow you to continue to care for your loved one well.

How Can Shadowing Be Reduced?

1.   Meaningful Activities
One way to reduce shadowing is to involve your loved one in engaging and meaningful activities. These don't have to be structured activities with a group of people in a facility setting. Rather, they can be right in your own home, and can be part of a reassuring daily routine. The key is for the activities to be meaningful for that person so that they capture her attention, thus reducing her obsession with you. For example, your loved one could fold clothes or towels daily, or work on a jigsaw puzzle.

For more information about meaningful activities, here's an article that lists several ideas: Ideas for Meaningful Activities for People with Dementia

2.   Snacks
The Alzheimer's Association in New York recommends "cereal therapy" or "gum therapy"- where you give the person some food to snack on or gum to chew to occupy them. Of course, make certain the snack you choose is not one that would be likely to cause choking.

3.   Music
You can also give the person headphones with a recording of their favorite musical selections to listen to, or even make a recording of yourself speaking to your loved one to reassure them. Music benefits many people with Alzheimer's, and the familiarity can be calming and relaxing.

You are invited to visit the online Forum to share ideas with other caregivers for coping with some of the challenging behaviors of dementia.


(Source:  about.com, Alzheimer’s/Dementia)


IDEAS FOR MEANINGFUL ACTIVITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA

While there’s nothing wrong with bingo as an activity, there are many reasons to think creatively when it comes to activities for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia.

One of the keys is that the activity should be meaningful for the person. Often, meaning is tied to past occupation or hobbies, so what’s meaningful for one person might not be so for another.

Whether you’re caring for a loved one in your own home or for a patient at a facility, consider the person’s interests, occupation and passions. If you work in a facility and don’t know the person’s history, ask their family members or observe their reaction to different activities. Then, choose a few activities they've responded well to and note the areas of interest. Here are a few types of people and corresponding activities to consider.

1.  The Homemaker
For those individuals who primarily took care of a home, you might offer a cloth to dust dressers or handrails, or to wash the table. They might enjoy folding a basket of washcloths and towels, or the task of setting the table. The object here is not to have the individual do large amounts of work, but rather to give the person something familiar and meaningful to do.

Just a note here. If you’re using this idea in a facility, you may want to ask the physician for an order that allows therapeutic work and receive permission from the family as well.

2.  The Fix It Individual
Was your loved one the fixer, the handyman, or the go-to guy? Maybe he’d like to sort through and match up nuts and bolts, or tighten screws into pieces of wood. Perhaps he’d like to connect smaller PVC pipes together. There are also activity boards with lots of “to do” things attached that you can purchase.

3.  The Mechanic
If his passion is cars, maybe he’d enjoy looking at pictures of old cars or tinkering with smaller engine parts. Some towns hold car events where older cars are displayed or driven down a road; if yours does, consider bringing him to that event. He also may be able to help you wash the car.

4.  The Pencil Pusher
For the person who sat at a desk and worked with papers, pens and pencils, she might love having a pile of papers to file, an adding machine or calculator to use, forms to complete or documents to read. Some people might like carrying a notebook and pen around to write down information.

5.  The Musician
If music is her thing, offer her opportunities to use this gift. People in the early to mid-stages of Alzheimer’s may be able to sing in a choir or play the piano. I know one woman with dementia whose leads a sing-along almost daily because of her musical gifts. She’ll even take requests for which songs to play, and despite her poor memory, plays songs almost faultlessly.

If he enjoys listening to music rather than performing it, make recordings of his favorite songs and play them for him.

6.  The Parent / Caregiver
Have you ever noticed how people with dementia often brighten up and take note when babies and children are around?   A child can often get a response when adults fail. Interactions with children and babies have been a normal part of many people’s lives. Sometimes when a person is living in a facility with other people of similar age or living at home and not getting out often, they no longer interact regularly with kids. Create opportunities for interaction with kids, whether that’s arranging for a visiting time, going on a walk together or bringing by your new baby to a facility near you.

Some older adults, particularly women, may also enjoy holding and caring for a baby doll. Often, the person connects with that baby doll and enjoys the sense of a familiar role in caregiving for the doll.

7.  The Animal Lover
If your family member loves pets, consider having him walk the dog with you or brush the dog’s hair. If he’s not able to do these things, he might enjoy having a bird or two in a cage or a fish aquarium to watch.

In the middle to late stages of Alzheimer’s, some people are comforted by holding a stuffed kitten or puppy. I’ve often observed them stroking the fur and holding it close.

8.  The Gardener
Is she an accomplished gardener? Provide her with a place to plant seeds, water them and watch them grow. She might also enjoy flower arranging or harvesting and preparing vegetables.

9.  The Puzzler
Although people with dementia typically have impaired memories, some of them are still quite capable of doing crossword puzzles, word searches and jumbles. Others might enjoy simple jigsaw puzzles as well. Have some different puzzle opportunities sitting out for your loved one to do.

10.  The Engineer
If he collected trains growing up, or is simply fascinated by them, consider setting up an electric train so he can help arrange the tracks or simply watch the activity. You can also gather a book collection or movies about trains.

11.  The Sports Fan
Provide the avid sports lover the chance to mini put, do WI bowling, play the beanbag tossing game or watch a Little League baseball game. You can also arrange for several people to get together to watch the big game on television and eat some junk food, or, I mean healthy alternatives. Or, perhaps he’d get a kick out of sorting through and organizing baseball cards.

12.  The Artist
Art provides a creative outlet to make something, so it provides a purpose and a task. Gather some non-toxic clay, watercolor paints, washable markers, colored pens or pencils, and paper. You can use these materials in a directed way (i.e. “Here’s some clay for you. Today let’s try to make a flower vase” or a non-directed way (“There’s art supplies laid out on the table. Feel free to choose any color of paint to get started.” Clay and paint are great for tactile stimulation and they provide a way to occupy and strengthen the hands as well.

13.  The Faithful
Don’t neglect this important area. For many people, as they age, the importance of spiritual nurturing increases. Offer them books of faith in keeping with their tradition, times of prayer or meditation, or singing together.

(Source:  about.com, Alzheimer’s/Dementia)