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A Caregiver’s Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease
Tips for Making Life Easier, Patricia Callone, Barbara Vasiloff, Roger Brumback, and Janaan Manternach  (Paperback - Dec 28, 2005)
     This book was recommended by Natalie Davis, who instructs activity director certification courses. Nat’s father recently died of Alzheimer’s disease. This is a short book, easily read, and well worth reading.
The book divides the brain into seven main areas of function: long term memory, short term memory, language, complex tasks (such as organizing, space, sense of time), social skills, judgment and reasoning, ambulation, and the senses.
     With normal aging, everything slows down, including recall. Dementia causes a progressive loss in all of these areas. The caregiver must nurture what remains. This is true of ALL losses, whether cognitive, social or physical.
Games to preserve cognition
  ·   have them verbally identify household objects in order to promote language skills
 ·   identify people and objects in photographs
 ·   spend time doing activities they learned before the onset of the disease
·   play games that involve movement, such as bean bag toss and following exercise tapes
·   decorate for the holidays. This makes their environment more stimulating and cues them to the season.
Skills to be nourished
 ·   Long term memories
 ·   Interests or hobbies learned before the disease
·   Sensory perception. Paint different colors in the room, or different rooms various colors. Increase lighting to improve their vision and concentration. This may also reduce fall risks. 
-Decorate the house, windows, and table settings. Use music to stimulate during activities or to calm at rest times.
The ability to do complex tasks that were learned early in life can remain late in the disease progression.
Caregiver Tips
·   Label the contents of drawers and cupboards
·   Mark passage of time on calendars with X. Post events to be looked forward to in future
·   Preserve private time for yourself. Dementia patients become dependent on their caregivers, and can become distressed when they are absent. Set privacy limits before this happens
·   Hygiene becomes less important to dementia patients. However, being clean and well dressed increases their dignity and self esteem.
·   Keep a log of behavior disturbances, what was happening, the time of day, etc. Look for patterns so you can avoid them.
·   Delegate tasks now to prepare for the time when you will need help
·   Lower the pitch of your voiced; don’t shout
·   Allow extra time to do daily tasks to compensate for the slowing of their abilities
·   Use easy to manage clothing, such as items that close in front rather than over the head, and use Velcro fastenings when possible.
·   Serve food in plates or bowls with a lip or rim (like a pie plate) to make it easier for get food on the fork. Use foam rubber on the utensils to make them easier to grip.   -  -   Keep finger foods in sight for snacks.
·   Consider getting a pet. Birds, fish, gerbils can bring joy and the satisfaction of being needed to the dementia patient.
·   Child proof the environment. Childproof locks on cabinets, remove cleaners from easy reach, remove sharp objects, remove objects that can be easily swallowed, and hide valuables that are breakable. 
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