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Begin with a circle…

August 17, 2011
by Sandra Hoban, Executive Editor
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Relearning simple pleasures brings joy to residents with dementia
  • Monitor nutritional intake. Often a resident with Alzheimer's suffers a breakdown in nutrition. As the disease progresses, chewing and swallowing can become more challenging and many individuals do not recognize hunger or thirst because that part of the brain is unable to communicate that need. Caregivers should monitor nutritional intake. A mixture of dark green, leafy vegetables; fiber; and protein are daily essentials.

  • Encourage families to take advantage of support group services. Caring for someone with Alzheimer's alone is not wise. If a support sytem (family, friends) does not exist, families should contact local Alzheimer's support agencies to meet others in the same situation and access the resources needed to be a better family caregiver.

  • Relearning relies on acting on tidbits of information about the resident, shaping them into simple activities, spending one-on-one time with each person throughout the day, and even at nighttime when the activity can reduce restlessness, provide redirection and improve quality of life.

    “Relearning isn't a difficult challenge to incorporate in a memory support program,” says Barba. The investment is minimal and pays off with huge results. Creativity, patience and passion are the key ingredients in supporting and enhancing quality of life for residents with Alzheimer's and other dementias.

    Long-Term Living 2011 August;60(8):46-47