Thursday, October 31, 2013

Strategies and tasks for people with Dementia or Alzheimers

This is my next installment in the series of cognitive therapy task ideas taken in part from a student project by Janelle Barrett). Have you read my ideas for Orientation therapy tasks HERE, Left Attention and Left Neglect HERE, Memory HERE, and Attention HERE.

Without further ado, I give you all the dementia treatment ideas I could think of today:

  • Make a personalized memory book
    • Include information about the patient themselves, what they like, their age, etc.
    • Include photos of the family, the home, etc.
      • Example: 
        • Page 1: My page
          • Consider including name, address, birthday...
        • Page 2: My parents
        • Page 3: My wife
        • Page 4-7?: My kids
        • Page 8: My grandkids
        • Page 9: My dogs
        • Page 10: My house
        • Page 11-14: My history
        • Page 15: My hobbies
 *I should add here that one of my old students- Melissa Kirby from a few years ago, made me an AWESOME example memory book to show to patients and families and to help them create their own.  It's been really nice to have an example to show them isntead of just explaining it.  It usually helps them spark other ideas.  I try to have them start working on it right away and get it done early so we can use it in therapy before the patient discharges.  

  • Reminiscence therapy
  • Spaced Retreival
  • Have patient write out steps for specific tasks (ie. taking medications)--place around patient’s room
  • Place labels around the room where certain objects should be kept (ie toothbrush, keys, shoes, etc.).
  • Family training for use of strategies
  • Creating a daily schedule - teaching family how to assist patient with it daily.
  • Create a daily log notebook or a journal.  Have patient and family contribute daily.
  • Research shows that in patients with dementia, the brain is still capable of new learning, so cognitive tasks and cognitive stimulation continue to be beneficial.
  • Place orientation information around the room
    • A (large-print) calendar 
    • Photos of family and even staff if appropriate
    • A note on the mirror (or in a location that will be most helpful) to help with confusion in the morning, for example.
      • This depends on the patient's needs, but could include something about who they are, where they are, where to find the information they need, etc. 
Other helpful tips:
  • Familiar music can be comforting
  • Staying active and going for walks is good too!
  • Keeping a calm positive therapy atmosphere

 So what do you do for patients with dementia?  Many of you may have MUCH more experience with this population than I do!  

1 comment:

  1. This article is very helpful information about Alzheimer's and related dementia, and resources for people with Alzheimer's as well as their caregivers and loved ones.

    Dementia Clinic