Many RTs and Activity Professionals work with older populations. A successful Alzheimer’s activity could be pretty tricky to pull off at times. Here are a few helpful tips.
I’ll have to admit, aside from working with some older adults with developmental disabilities way back when, I don’t have much experience with Alzheimer’s activities.
A couple weeks ago, a TRRT blog reader reached out to me about writing some tips for Alzheimer’s activities. I was more than delighted to take him up on the offer. I would like to thank Raphaelle for his contributions to this blog post.
Also, Raphaelle and his team at Melba publishing is working hard to get a very successful French Canadian Alzheimer’s Activity idea book (Spark Your Mind) translated to English and published to make it more accessible to Americans. You could read a little bit more about this exciting opportunity at the end of the post.
Tips for Running Activities for Individuals with Alzheimer’s
Here is some advice for running Alzeimers activities from Spark Your Mind:
Choose your Moment
Generally speaking, experts recommend doing these activities & games in the morning between 9 and 10 a.m., when the concentration is at its highest. If you notice the person work with is at his or her best at another time of day, choose this time to do the activity.
Allow 15 to 20 minutes for an activity. Modify the time depending on interest and level of fatigue.
Offer Encouragement & Support
For example, if someone can no longer write or feels tired, write down the answers yourself while doing the exercises together.
If the person you are accompanying is not able to do the activity, enjoy the time you have together. Discuss the pictures or move on to another activity.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Formulate your questions in such a way that the person you are accompanying will answer you in complete sentences, rather than by yes or no. Giving clues or choices of answers are other good strategies to adopt.
Adapt the Activity
Use a sheet of paper to hide a part of the game if the person seems distracted by the items on the page or if the activity is too long for them. Use a pencil and an eraser; feel free to erase and start again!
Just taking a moment to do activities is very valuable. The most important thing is to have fun and share moments that may be very meaningful to those you serve!
Thank you, Kevin, for giving us the opportunity to make an appearance on your blog to talk. Here’s a little more about our book project, SPARK YOUR MIND.
We are Melba Publishing. Our goal is to design & publish specialized collections of books, activities and games for seniors. Our latest project is Spark Your Mind, an activity book for people with Alzheimer’s!
HOW IT ALL STARTED
This project started with a young entrepreneur, Marie-Pier Vaudry. In 2012, her mother was diagnosed with early-onset vascular dementia. Faced with a lack of appropriate resources for her mother, Vaudry decided to work with healthcare professionals to create 50+ high quality, stimulating, fun activities.
LIVING WITH ALZHEIMER’S
This book was an immediate success in French Canada. Personally, my grandma and I regularly do the activities in this book. She keeps asking for more! She especially loves doing crossword puzzles from the book. Crosswords puzzles are a long-time hobby of hers. Happily, she was able to enjoy them again thanks to Spark Your Mind.
A RESEARCH-BASED APPROACH
The games and activities featured in this book have been tested and developed with the help of healthcare professionals (experts in neurology, neuropsychology, geriatric speech therapy, physiotherapy & optometry).
“The exercises contained in these collections allow us to stimulate different cognitive functions in a playful way. They are designed to develop the caregiver’s skills when interacting with the person with a degenerative disease. I recommend it without moderation!”
—Dr. Anik Guimond, Ph.D. Neuropsychologist, Montreal Geriatrics University Institute
“My grandmother always loved doing crossword puzzles. That’s what pushed us to do the game book activities with her for the past few months during our visits. It was a great way to spend quality time with her. We were very happy to see her proud to find the answers herself, since the activities are adapted and were developed in collaboration with health professionals.”
A NEEDED RESOURCE
We believe these current times make this resource even more necessary. Isolation precautions due to Covid-19 challenges everyone–especially those living with dementia and their caregivers.
That’s the reason why we are so passionate about making Spark Your Mind available! We want people living with Alzheimer’s to be able to continue to entertain themselves and stimulate their neurons with great content! We believe the key is adapted, high quality resources. This Alzheimer’s activity and game book is all about bringing fun and laughter!
This would be a useful book for recreational therapists and other activity professionals! But, we need your help to adapt, translate, and publish this book! We need a minimum of 500 pre-orders to start printing them. Also, Alzheimer’s activity book will also be made available in a digital format, making it easy to print the games over and over again! (less time consuming than erasing :))
When you click the link below you can choose to be notified when Spark Your Mind will be launched! Give it a look! See how this book could benefit you & the people you work with. Let’s make a difference in the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/melba/spark-your-mind-an-alzheimers-activity-book
—Raphaelle from Melba publishing
You can contact Melba publishing at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find Melba publishing on Facebook and Instagram.
Thanks for the Post!
Creating this blog has allowed me to meet a lot of great people like those dedicated individuals from Melba publishing. We have a very diverse field, and I think it is SO important to get different perspectives on all things RT and Activity.
If you have some tips, ideas, or insights, you wouldn’t mind sharing, please contact me. You don’t have to be a writer…just bring your ideas. We’ll go from there. And, while I have them, I’ll send you a FREE copy of my new book Therapy Games for Teens, once we get your post up. (Heck, I’ll even autograph it–but I’m pretty far from being famous.)
Please share this and any other posts you find valuable from the TRRT blog. It helps get the word out and creates a community of like minded people who work hard to care for others.
Hope you all are well.