HIV and HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND)

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This post is about medical conditions associated with HIV, known as HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND).

YouTube: Understanding HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND), Alzheimer’s Australia Vic

YouTube: Supporting someone who is living with HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic

Toolkit: HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND): Toolkit for community care workers, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic, 2014

HIVHANDCommCareThis toolkit is about medical conditions associated with HIV, known as HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). HAND affects cognitive (thinking) abilities such as memory, language, attention, concentration, planning, judgement and organisation.

This toolkit is for paid and volunteer workers in community care settings who support people with HIV. The toolkit provides information to increase knowledge and understanding of the cognitive issues of HIV and their impact on self-care. It helps workers identify and address these issues to support better health outcomes for people with HIV and HAND.

Service providers can use this toolkit as a standalone resource. Although this toolkit is mainly about community care, it may help in other settings, such as residential care.

YouTube: Living with HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic

 

HIVHANDFamilyFriendsToolkit: Living with HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND): Information for people living with HIV and HAND, their partners, families and friends, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic, 2014

This booklet has been produced by Alzheimer’s Australia Vic for people living with HIV and HAND, and their partners, families and friends. It is part of the Dementia and Chronic Conditions Series: HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders Toolkit, which has been developed primarily for community care workers. The information and recommendations it contains are based on independent research, expert opinion and scientific evidence available at the time of writing. The information was acquired and developed from a variety of sources, including but not limited to collaborations with the Burnet Institute and Living Positive Victoria.

Article: Understanding HIV and dementia by Denise Cummins, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, Vol.3, No. 6, December 2014/January 2015, p.28-30

AJDC_Dec14Jan15As the lifespan of people with HIV has increased, so too has the risk of developing HIV-associated dementia. Denise Cummins explains the importance of diagnosis, education and effective management to help people with the condition maintain their independence and quality of life.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

This page includes more resources which may be of use in supporting people with HIV and HAND.

webpageHIVDemWebpage: HIV Associated Dementia, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic

This page describes what HIV associated dementia is, it’s causes, the symptoms and how it is diagnosed and treated.

 

Paro – therapeutic robot seal

Image of Paro the seal with Jean Wilson. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

Image of Paro the seal with Jean Wilson. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

PARO is an interactive robotic seal. This cuddly and responsive robot provides undemanding interactions and can deliver outcomes similar to animal-assisted therapy.

Today’s post is about PARO and the benefits it can provide to people with dementia.

PARO is a therapeutic robot in the form of a baby seal, developed in Japan to respond to touch, light, sound, temperature and positioning.

PARO has been shown to have a positive psychological effect on people living with dementia, improving their relaxation and motivation. It can also improve the socialisation of patients with each other, and with caregivers. PARO responds to sound and can even learn common words over time, such as its chosen name.

Article: Exploring the Effect of Companion Robots on Emotional Expression in Older Adults with Dementia: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial by Wendy Moyle [et al], Journal of Gerontological Nursing, Vol. 39, No. 5, May 2013, p.46-53

This pilot study aimed to compare the effect of companion robots (PARO) to participation in an interactive reading group on emotions in people living with moderate to severe dementia in a residential care setting. A randomized crossover design, with PARO and reading control groups, was used. Eighteen residents with mid- to late-stage dementia from one aged care facility in Queensland, Australia, were recruited. Participants were assessed three times using the Quality of Life in Alzheimer’s Disease, Rating Anxiety in Dementia, Apathy Evaluation, Geriatric Depression, and Revised Algase Wandering Scales. PARO had a moderate to large positive influence on participants’ quality of life compared to the reading group. The PARO intervention group had higher pleasure scores when compared to the reading group. Findings suggest PARO may be useful as a treatment option for people with dementia; however, the need for a larger trial was identified.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

Website: PARO Therapeutic Robot

PARO websiteThe official PARO website, includes information on PARO and an extensive library of research papers on PARO which you can obtain by request.

Television show: Trusting Robots, SBS Insight, 21 April 2015

From the SBS Insight website:

“Stephen Hawking recently warned that the development of full artificial intelligence (AI) systems could spell the end of the human race.

trusting robotsFrom agriculture and manufacturing to education and medicine, some experts are predicting a future where blue and white collar workers will soon be replaced.

Technological progress has seen robots become more sophisticated, so what will be the economic impact of AI?

Could we actually be entering an age of abundance for humans catered to by robot slaves?

Insight asks: Is humanity really being threatened by thinking robots, and where will robotic advances take us into the future?

What are the ethical and moral questions to consider?”

Guests include Professor Wendy Moyle who discusses a trial using PARO during the show.

Professor Moyle is Director of the Centre for Health Practice Innovation: “We’ve got a very large trial running with over 400 people with dementia… and we’re looking at whether (the robot) makes a difference to them in terms of emotional response… ”

Image of Paro the seal with residents. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

Image of Paro the seal with residents. Photograph by Chris

Recent fiction with people with dementia

2017 Update

As you may know, it can feel like it’s entirely possible to read about dementia all day, every day and still only cover a fraction of the resources available.  At the Alzheimer’s Australia Vic library we’ve found that many people enjoy learning more about dementia in a fictional setting.  Fortunately, there are some amazing stories which provide both a gripping read and valuable information on how dementia can impact and change both the person with dementia and those around them.

This post covers books released over the last two years – 2014 and 2015. Links to previous posts about fictional accounts of dementia are also included at the conclusion of this post.  We hope that some of these resources are also available through your local library. If not, you can contact us or perhaps put in a request for these via your local library.

spool of blue threadA Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, 2015

“It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…” This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. From Red’s father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red’s grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their achor.

Brimming with all the insight, humor, and generosity of spirit that are the hallmarks of Anne Tyler’s work, A Spool of Blue Thread tells a poignant yet unsentimental story in praise of family in all its emotional complexity. It is a novel to cherish.

we are not ourselvesWe are not ourselves by Matthew Thomas, 2014

This novel is light on racy subplots and heavy on the messy, claustrophobic fog of family life. It is by turns wrenching in its portrait of a family battling illness and plodding in its depiction of the sociological realities of mid-century middle-class American life. At its centre is Eileen Tumulty, who grows up in a working-class Irish enclave of Queens, New York. When she meets her husband, Ed, a young neuroscientist, she believes she is finally climbing the ladder into the respectable upper-middle-class. But then in midlife, just as the couple’s son is entering his teens, Ed is diagnosed with young onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Note: this is also available as an audiobook from our library.

memory bookThe memory book  by Rowan Coleman, 2014

The name of your first-born. The face of your lover. Your age. Your address…

What would happen if your memory of these began to fade?

Is it possible to rebuild your life? Raise a family? Fall in love again?

When time is running out, every moment is precious…

When Claire starts to write her Memory Book, she already knows that this scrapbook of mementoes will soon be all her daughters and husband have of her. But how can she hold onto the past when her future is slipping through her fingers…?

A Sunday Times bestseller and Richard & Judy Autumn Book Club pick, The Memory Book is a critically acclaimed, beautiful novel of mothers and daughters, and what we will do for love.

This is a story about younger onset dementia.

Note: this is also available as an audiobook from our library.

arsonistThe Arsonist by Sue Miller, 2014

From the best-selling author of While I Was Gone and The Senator’s Wife, a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fire to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town.

Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for 15 years, Frankie Rowley has come home-home to the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Is it an accident, or arson? Over the weeks that follow, as Frankie comes to recognize her father’s slow failing and her mother’s desperation, another house burns, and then another, always the homes of summer people. These frightening events, and the deep social fault lines that open in the town as a result, are observed and reported on by Bud Jacobs, a former political journalist, who has bought the local paper and moved to Pomeroy in an attempt to find a kind of home himself. As this compelling book unfolds, as Bud and Frankie begin an unexpected, passionate affair, arson upends a trusting small community where people have never before bothered to lock their doors; and Frankie and Bud bring wholly different perspectives to the questions of who truly owns the land, who belongs in the town, and how, or even whether, newcomers can make a real home there.

Eliz_Is_MissingElizabeth Is Missing: A Novel by Emma Healey, 2014

In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?

Note: this is also available as an audiobook from our library.

Stars Go BlueStars go blue : a novel by Laura Pritchett, 2014

We first met hardscrabble ranchers Renny and Ben Cross in Laura’s debut collection, and now in Stars Go Blue, they are estranged, elderly spouses living on opposite ends of their sprawling ranch, faced with the particular decline of a fading farm and Ben’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. He is just on the cusp of dementia, able to recognize he is sick but unable to do anything about it -the notes he leaves in his pockets and around the house to remind him of himself, his family, and his responsibilities are no longer as helpful as they used to be. Watching his estranged wife forced into care-taking and brought to her breaking point, Ben decides to leave his life with whatever dignity and grace remains.

As Ben makes his decision, a new horrible truth comes to light: Ray, the abusive husband of their late daughter is being released from prison early. This opens old wounds in Ben, his wife, his surviving daughter, and four grandchildren. Branded with a need for justice, Ben must act before his mind leaves him, and sets off during a brutal snowstorm to confront the man who murdered his daughter. Renny, realizing he is missing, sets off to either stop or witness her husband’s act of vengeance.

missing stepsMissing Steps by Paul Cavanagh, 2015

Dean Lajeunesse doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps. He’s not yet fifty, but his memory is starting to fail him. He vividly recalls how dementia whittled away at his dad and doesn’t want his own teenaged son, Aidan, to see him suffer the same fate. Of course, he could just be overreacting. Maybe it’s the stress of his on-again, off-again relationship with Valerie, his long-time live-in girlfriend, or the feeling that he’s not measuring up as a father that’s making him absent-minded. But before he can understand what’s happening to him, he’s dragged home to the sickbed of his estranged mother. There, he butts heads with his older brother, Perry, who’s remained loyal to their mother and has succeeded in almost every way that Dean hasn’t. As old family tensions bubble to the surface, Dean must try to hold on to Aidan’s respect as he relives his difficult relationship with his own father.

unbecomingUnbecoming by Jenny Downham, 2015

Three women – three secrets – one heart-stopping story. Katie, seventeen, in love with someone whose identity she can’t reveal. Her mother Caroline, uptight, worn out and about to find the past catching up with her. Katie’s grandmother, Mary, back with the family after years of mysterious absence and ‘capable of anything’, despite living with Alzheimer’s disease. As Katie cares for an elderly woman who brings daily chaos to her life, she finds herself drawn to her.

This is a book that will be enjoyed by young adults and adults alike.

Half a ChanceHalf a Chance by Cynthia Lord, 2014

For late primary or early secondary school-aged readers.

When Lucy’s family moves to an old house on a lake, Lucy tries to see her new home through her camera’s lens, as her father has taught her — he’s a famous photographer, away on a shoot. Will her photos ever meet his high standards? When she discovers that he’s judging a photo contest, Lucy decides to enter anonymously. She wants to find out if her eye for photography is really special — or only good enough. As she seeks out subjects for her photos, Lucy gets to know Nate, the boy next door. But slowly the camera reveals what Nate doesn’t want to see: his grandmother’s memory is slipping away, and with it much of what he cherishes about his summers on the lake. This summer, Nate will learn about the power of art to show truth. And Lucy will learn how beauty can change lives . . . including her own.

GrandmaGrandma by Jessica Shepherd, 2014

Oscar loves Grandma, and their time together is always lots of fun. As she becomes less able to look after herself, she has to go into a care home. More and more children are encountering dementia and its effects on their families. This touching story, told in Oscar’s own words, is a positive and practical tale about the experience. The factual page about dementia helps children talk about their feelings and find new ways to enjoy the changing relationship. Jessica Shepherd’s sensitive first picture book has grown out of her experiences in a variety of caring roles. This book includes many wonderful illustrations, including a childlike map of a residential care facility.

Fictional accounts of dementia – Post 1

Fictional accounts of dementia – Post 2

Kids and teens resources

 

Music and dementia

Music has a transformative effect on people. Whether young, old, happy, sad, with dementia, without dementia, music enriches our lives and helps us access cherished memories. Today’s post provides information on resources about the importance of music to people with dementia and the potential for music to contribute to a higher quality of life in myriad ways.

ConnectingThruMusicBook: Connecting through music with people with dementia : a guide for caregivers  by Robin Rio, 2009

For people with dementia, the world can become a lonely and isolated place. Music has long been a vital instrument in transcending cognitive issues; bringing people together, and allowing a person to live in the moment. Connecting though Music with People with Dementia explains how a caregiver can learn to use melody or rhythm to connect with someone who may be otherwise non-responsive, and how memories can be stimulated by music that resonates with a part of someone’s past.

This user-friendly book demonstrates how even simple sounds and movements can engage people with dementia, promoting relaxation and enjoyment. All that’s needed to succeed is a love of music, and a desire to gain greater communication and more meaningful interaction with people with dementia. The book provides practical advice on using music with people with dementia, including a songbook suggesting a range of popular song choices and a chapter focusing on the importance of caregivers looking after themselves as well as the people they care for.

Suitable for both family and professional caregivers with no former experience of music therapy, and for music therapy students or entry level professionals, this accessible book reveals many useful techniques used in music therapy by experienced professionals.

dementia journalArticle: Music therapy: A nonpharmacological approach to the care of agitation and depressive symptoms for nursing home residents with dementia by Kendra D Ray and Mary S Mittleman, Dementia October 29, 2015

Depression, agitation, and wandering are common behaviors associated with dementia and frequently observed among nursing home residents. Even with pharmacological treatment, behaviors often persist, hindering quality of life for elders, their family, and paid caregivers. This study examined the use of music therapy for treatment of these symptoms among 132 people with moderate to severe dementia in nursing homes. Participants were evaluated for depressive symptoms, agitation, and wandering to determine their predominate behavior. There were two assessments, two weeks apart, prior to intervention, followed by a two-week intervention, and two follow-up assessments, also two weeks apart. A repeated measures ANOVA determined that after two weeks of music therapy, symptoms of depression and agitation were significantly reduced; there was no change for wandering. Multivariate analyses confirmed a relationship between music therapy and change in neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with dementia. Results suggest widespread use of music therapy in long-term care settings may be effective in reducing symptoms of depression and agitation.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

DVD: Alive inside: A story of music & memory. A film by Michael Rossato-Bennett, 2014Alive Inside DVD

Alive Inside is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized and awakened by the simple act of listening to the music of their youth.

You can view the trailer for this wonderful film below:

radio nat article 2Radio program: Music of memory – All In The Mind, Radio National, Sunday 8 November 2015 5:05PM

All In The Mind explores the work documented by the documentary Alive Inside. This radio program is available as on-demand, a downloadable audio file or a written transcript.  Below is an excerpt from their synopsis:

“Our relationship with music begins at birth, if not before, and plays a role in the formation of our identity when we are young. Now a heart-warming movement called Music & Memory is creating personalised music playlists for residents with dementia in nursing homes—who use their mobile device to hear it.” RN All In The Mind website, accessed 20 November 2015.

 

dementia journalArticle: But does it do any good? Measuring the impact of music therapy on people with advanced dementia: (Innovative practice) by Karen Gold. Dementia 2014 13(2) p.258-264

This article describes the impact of music therapy upon a group of nine people with advanced dementia in a hospital setting. It demonstrates how the impact of music therapy was measured using the case notes completed by nursing and care staff and how these notes suggested that music therapy had a positive effect on the mood and behaviour on eight of the nine people receiving music therapy.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

Sustaining_note_of_hopeReport: Sustaining the note of hope: Music, dementia and meaningful lives by Marsaili Cameron and Belinda Sosinowicz , 2013

The report draws on the presentations, discussions and stories from a creative multidisciplinary seminar in order to:
• outline the emerging shape of dementia services in the UK, and the potential contribution of the arts, especially music, to dementia care.
• offer examples of current excellent practice in this area and provide a list of useful resources.
• provide an overview of the evidence underpinning music and dementia programmes and suggest constructive approaches to evaluation.
• explore the benefits of music and dementia programmes for different stakeholders in different settings, including people with dementia, management and staff of care and support organisations, musicians, commissioners of services and programmes.
• identify the key challenges that need to be met in order for music and dementia activity to grow, along with potential responses to these challenges.
• propose ways of continuing, sharing and expanding the learning from the seminar.

How can you use it?
• to understand the depth and breadth of the potential contribution of music to dementia care.
• to draw on work already done in the field and to make contact with those involved in this work.
• to create dialogue across artistic, academic, clinical and managerial groups about how music can be used effectively in different care settings for people with dementia.
• to develop evidence-based programmes.
• to make a case for funding music-based initiatives and research.

JGN_feb2014Article: Music-Assisted Bathing: Making Shower Time Easier for People with Dementia by Kendra D. Ray, Suzanne Fitzsimmons. Journal of Gerontological Nursing Vol.40, No. 2, 2014, p.9-13

It is estimated that 90% of nursing home residents need assistance with bathing. The purpose of this article is to describe a music-assisted care technique that can be used by caregivers when bathing nursing home residents with dementia. Research suggests that music has many therapeutic benefits for people with dementia. Using music to soothe anxiety can be an effective intervention to assist with lessening of agitation during activities of daily living, especially bathing. This article will provide nursing and direct care staff tools to successfully conduct the music-assisted bathing protocol. Consideration for choosing appropriate music for bathing, the creation of individualized personalized playlists, and acknowledgement of desired outcomes are presented. Incorporating music-assisted bathing may address neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia by lessening agitation and improving mood, which in turn can increase job satisfaction.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

music therapy and neurological rehabilitationBook: Music therapy and neurobiological rehabilitation : performing health  /  Edited by David Aldridge  (2005)

The central tenet of this innovative collection is that identity can be regarded as a performance, achieved through and in dialogue with others. The authors show that where neuro-degenerative disease restricts movement, communication and thought processes and impairs the sense of self, music therapy and neurological rehabilitation can help to restore the performance of identity within which clients can recognise themselves. Emphasis is placed on identity as a chosen performance, not one imposed by a pathological process – the individual is not defined by the disease. The authors show that music therapy is an effective intervention in neurological rehabilitation, successfully restoring the performance of identity within which clients can recognise themselves. It can also aid clients affected by dementia, traumatic brain injury, and multiple sclerosis, among other neuro-generative diseases. Music Therapy and Neurological Rehabilitation is an authoritative and comprehensive text that will be of interest to practicing music therapists, students and academics in the field.

Chapter four of this book focuses on the role of music therapy as an intervention for people with dementia.

jdc_marchapril2015Article: ‘That was an amazing one!’ Music therapy in dementia care by Elizabeth Nightingale, The Journal of Dementia Care, Vol. 23, No. 2, March/April 2015

The story of how music therapy helped to restore one man’s individuality and his relationship with his partner.Elizabeth Nightingale is a music therapist with adults with dementia.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

AJDCfebmar14Article: The healing power of music by Vanessa Solomon, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, Vol. 3, No. 1, February/March 2014, p.17-18

Music therapy for people with dementia has been well-documented in many peer-reviewed academic journals, but it is still a relatively underused practice for supporting people with dementia. As a Registered Music Therapist (RMT), I personally experience the benefit of using music therapy for people with dementia, and believe it is one of the most accessible person-centred interventions. It is cost-effective for residential aged-care facilities and enjoyable for residents, staff and families. The best part is that it can facilitate meaningful experiences for people involved in all stages of dementia and is a way of involving their families.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

aust_ageing_agenda_mar2014_webArticle: Dementia: Music to their ears by Diana Kerr, Australian Ageing Agenda, March – April 2014, p.52-53

There is a substantial body of evidence showing the crucial role that music plays in support of people with dementia, writes Diana Kerr.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

Montessori methods for people with dementia

Montessori methods are now a popular and powerful way to support the lives and capabilities of people with dementia. This post and a previous post offer resources on Montessori activities and how to implement Montessori-based activities.

 2017 update


Website: Purposeful activities for people with dementia: a resource, 

Purposeful Activities for Dementia is a Montessori-based professional development and education resource developed for aged care and dementia care staff and carers.

Purposeful activities for Dementia complements other professional development resources about engaging people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, including the downloadable Relate Motivate Appreciate toolkit. Purposeful activities for dementia was developed by Alzheimer’s Australia VIC for families and aged care staff.

Purposeful Activities for Dementia offers practical ways that carers – including activity support workers, personal care attendants and other aged care professionals – can work together to engage people living with dementia in purposeful activities at home and in social groups.

The videos by Alzheimer’s Australia VIC on this website explore the way in which Montessori techniques can enrich the lives of people living with dementia. Many of the educational activities in the following video are based on this approach.


Article
 Effects of using nursing home residents to serve as group activity leaders: Lessons learned from the RAP project by Michael J. Skrajner, Jessica L. Haberman, Cameron J. Camp, Melanie Tusick, Cristina Frentiu, and Gregg Gorzelle, Dementia: The international journal of social research and practice, Volume 13, Number 2, March 2014

Previous research has demonstrated that persons with early to moderate stage dementia are capable of leading small group activities for persons with more advanced dementia. In this study, we built upon this previous work by training residents in long-term care facilities to fill the role of group activity leaders using a Resident-Assisted Programming (RAP) training regimen. There were two stages to the program. In the first stage, RAP training was provided by researchers. In the second stage, RAP training was provided to residents by activities staff members of long-term care facilities who had been trained by researchers. We examine the effects of RAP implemented by researchers and by activities staff member on long-term care resident with dementia who took part in these RAP activities. We also examined effects produced by two types of small group activities: two Montessori-based activities and an activity which focuses on persons with more advanced dementia, based on the work of Jitka Zgola. Results demonstrate that levels of positive engagement seen in players during RAP (resident-led activities) were typically higher than those observed during standard activities programming led by site staff. In general, Montessori-Based Dementia Programming® produced more constructive engagement than Zgola-based programming (ZBP), though ZBP did increase a positive form of engagement involving observing activities with interest. In addition, RAP implemented by activities staff members produced effects that were, on the whole, similar to those produced when RAP was implemented by researchers. Implications of these findings for providing meaningful social roles for persons with dementia residing in long-term care, and suggestions for further research in this area, are discussed.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.


you say goodbye_webBook: You say goodbye and we say hello : the Montessori method for positive dementia care by Tom and Karen Brenner, ©2012

This book aims to help dementia caregivers connect with their loved ones-in sometimes surprising ways.

Caregiving for a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be fraught with frustration, but it all can be rewarding in ways that may surprise a caregiver. Getting to those rewarding moments is the subject of You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello, a new book by husband-and-wife team Tom and Karen Brenner.

You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello is an inspiring, eye-opening look into how using The Montessori Method for memory support and creating a positive environment can deepen the connection between caregivers and the people they love. – Sam Gaines, Managing Editor, Preserving Your Memory Magazine


Article: Montessori based dementia programming® by Michael J. Skrajner [et al]  Alzheimer’s Care Quarterly, Vol. 8, Issue 1, January/March 2007, p. 53-63

Montessori-Based Dementia Programming® (MBDP) is a method of creating and presenting activities/interventions. The Myers Research Institute conducted several studies, each of which involved the use of MBDP in a different setting/situation. Staff members from nursing homes, adult day centres, and assisted living facilities were trained to implement MBDP, as were family members and even persons in the early stages of dementia. In addition, a Montessori-based assessment tool is being developed for use in restorative nursing for persons with moderate to advanced dementia. An overview of each study is provided, as are the findings and implications of each study.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.


EvalMontPrincReport: Evaluation of Montessori principles in planned activity groups for people with dementia, Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care, La Trobe University, 2015

In 2014, Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria implemented a pilot project to evaluate the impact of Montessori-based activities on the engagement of people with dementia attending planned activity groups (PAG) at two sites in metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria. Funding for the project was provided by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments under the Home and Community Care (HACC) Program. The overall goal of the project was to improve the engagement of people with dementia in purposeful activity by incorporating Montessori principles in planned activity groups.

Findings show that the application of the Montessori principles to activities statistically improved constructive engagement, pleasure and helping among clients in the two participating planned activity groups. The findings also suggest that the Montessori education may improve staff satisfaction and attitudes to people with dementia.


dementia journalArticle: Montessori programming for persons with dementia in the group setting:an analysis of engagement and affect by Shannon E Jarrott, Tsofit Gozali & Christina M Gigliotti,  Dementia, Vol. 7, no. 1 February 2008, p. 109-125

Implementing meaningful activities for persons with dementia reduces boredom, agitation, and negative affect. Previous research demonstrated that Montessori activities, modified for persons with dementia, facilitate positive engagement and affect. We conducted activities in small parallel group settings to support social interactions and reflect typical staff-to-client ratios in institutional activity settings. The amount and type of engagement and affect were compared during Montessori-based activities and regularly scheduled activities of 10 older adults with dementia at an adult day program. Participants exhibited more constructive engagement and less non-engagement during Montessori-activities compared to regular activities. Affect did not differ between the activity conditions. We conclude with a discussion of research and practice methodology modifications.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.


blog_screen_montessoriBlog: The Montessori Approach for people with dementia, Dementia Resources blog, July 2013

Montessori is a topic close to my heart.  Part of my own schooling was Montessori and my children attend a Montessori school.  For me, what really appeals is the dignity and respect which the students are afforded.  The sense of satisfaction and well-deserved pride they derive from mastering an activity is heart-warming to see.  When I discovered that the Montessori principles were also enriching the lives of people with dementia I was really excited.  It’s such a natural extension of this incredibly flexible, carefully-constructed and intelligent educational philosophy.

This post includes a number of Montessori resources including those of Cameron J. Camp and the popular Relate Motivate Appreciate resource produced by Alzheimer’s Australia VIC.

Dementia-friendly communities – Communicating and socialising with a person with dementia

September is Dementia Awareness Month and this year we are focusing on how to create a dementia-friendly nation that empowers, respects and engages people with dementia in everyday life.  An important part of this is maintaining social connections and friendships.  People with dementia and carers alike frequently identify social isolation as one of the most profound impacts of disclosing their condition to others.

Many people are unsure how to communicate and socialise with a person with dementia and as a result, they may withdraw from a friendship or relationship with a person with dementia, particularly as the dementia progresses and the person with dementia finds it harder to express themselves. We humans are highly social creatures. Isolation from key friendships and family relationships greatly increases the stress and distress of people with dementia and those who care for them.

Our post today focuses on providing resources that help friends and family of people with dementia communicate and socialise together, for the enjoyment and benefit of all.

dementia - the one stop guideBook: Dementia – the one-stop guide : practical advice for families, professionals, and people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease by June Andrews, 2015

Chapter 5 – What are friends for? has some great suggestions on how people with dementia and carers may be feeling about their personal circumstances and the reactions of friends, as well as practical suggestions for what friends can do to stay connected and offer genuine support.  June Andrews has some great words to offer in the opening paragraph:

“Dementia presents a particular problem to friends if you are not part of the family. You might not know much about it yourself and the whole idea of it is terrifying. You want to help, but you are afraid of being embarassing or inappropriate and you just don’t know what would make a difference. Reading this chapter will provide guidance on what often does make a difference, based on what people with dementia and their family carers say.” (p.75)

tips_friendsHelpsheet: Tips for Friends, Alzheimer’s Australia

This Sheet gives you a few tips on how you can support a friend with dementia and their family. You can make a difference.

“Although our lives are changed forever, there is life after diagnosis. We need our family and friends to walk alongside us as we build a new life” Nancy, carer

Effective communication DVDDVD: Effective Communication with people with dementia, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic

Understanding how dementia affects communication and finding ways to cater for the changes in people’s abilities can help to make communicating with people with dementia more effective and enjoyable.

Communication is one of the important ways that we achieve tasks, express our needs and stay connected with each other. People who have dementia usually experience a decline in their ability to communicate. This can be frustrating and difficult for everyone involved.

In this program, people with dementia and their families and carers show some common communication difficulties. They also demonstrate various techniques or strategies that can help. By adapting these strategies to individual circumstances, effective communication can be maintained throughout all stages of dementia.

Im_Still_hereBook: I’m still here : a breakthrough approach to understanding someone living with Alzheimer’s by John Zeisel, 2010

Chapter 7 – Building a new relationship and Chapter 8 – Appreciating the new relationship include valuable information on communicating with and building a relationship in the changed circumstances people with dementia may be experiencing. These chapters offer valuable insights into what it can be like to have dementia as well as strategies for providing sensitive and practical support to friends and family members with dementia.

tips_communicationHelpsheet: Communication

This Help Sheet explains some of the changes in communication that occur as a result of dementia and suggests ways that families and carers can help. It also includes some personal tips on communication written by a person with dementia.

talking_toolkit_bupaResource: The Talking Toolkit, Bupa Aged Care

It can be hard to communicate with a loved one who is living with dementia.

The Talking Toolkit contains advice from Bupa dementia care experts. There are also tips from carers in our care homes about how best to engage and connect with loved ones living with dementia.

This free resource can be downloaded here.

comforting touch_webBook: Comforting touch in dementia and end of life care : take my hand by Barbara Goldschmidt and Niamh van Meines, 2012

The simple sensation of touching someone’s hand can have a powerful therapeutic effect. Hand massage is a positive and meaningful way of reaching out and providing comfort to those who are elderly, ill or nearing the end of life, and it can be particularly effective for people with dementia who respond well to non-verbal interaction. This book offers inspiration for all caregivers looking for an alternative way to support and connect with a family member, friend or patient in their care. It teaches an easy 30 minute hand massage sequence and offers clear instructions and detailed illustrations to guide the reader through each step. Combining light massage strokes with focused awareness, and paying close attention to points on energy pathways, this book introduces a structured way of sharing touch that is grounded in Western and Eastern massage traditions.

Friends_matterResource: Friends Matter: How to stay connected to a friend living with dementia, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic, 2012

Friendships matter. Friends help us navigate life’s ups and downs. Friends accept us as we are.

What can we do to maintain this special bond when a friend is living with dementia? How do we stay connected in ways that are meaningful, and what interests can we continue to enjoy together?

These are some of the important questions this booklet aims to address. We hope the information and suggestions in this guide help you stay connected, as you discover different and meaningful ways to be with a friend living with dementia.

This free resource can be downloaded here.

 dementia journalArticle: The dance of communication: Retaining family membership despite severe non-speech dementia by Bruce D. Walmsley and Lynne McCormack, Dementia, Volume 13, Number 5, September 2014, p.626-641

There is minimal research investigating non-speech communication as a result of living with severe dementia. This phenomenological study explores retained awareness expressed through non-speech patterns of communication in a family member living with severe dementia. Further, it describes reciprocal efforts used by all family members to engage in alternative patterns of communication. Family interactions were filmed to observe speech and non-speech relational communication. Participants were four family groups each with a family member living with non-speech communication as a result of severe dementia. Overall there were 16 participants. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. One superordinate theme, Dance of Communication, describes the interactive patterns that were observed during family communication. Two subordinate themes emerged: (a) in-step; characterised by communication that indicated harmony, spontaneity and reciprocity, and; (b) out-of-step; characterised by communication that indicated disharmony, syncopation, and vulnerability. This study highlights that retained awareness can exist at levels previously unrecognised in those living with limited or absent speech as a result of severe dementia. A recommendation for the development of a communication program for caregivers of individuals living with dementia is presented.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

Resource: RELATE, MOTIVATE, APPRECIATE: An Introduction to Montessori Activities, Alzheimer’s Australia

This introduction to Montessori activities focuses on the elements of a meaningful interaction with someone living with dementia. The booklet outlines why the Montessori approach works, describes the “RELATE, MOTIVATE, APPRECIATE” model and the principles of engagement under this approach. A DVD is included to provide some visuals to further guide the approach.

Resource: RELATE, MOTIVATE, APPRECIATE: A Montessori Resource, Alzheimer’s Australia

RelateMotivateAppreciate-resource_webPeople with dementia are often confronted with what they can no longer do or with the mistakes that they make. Montessori principles are designed to focus on what they can still do. One of the main Montessori principles emphasises using less language, while at the same time promoting non-verbal communication by demonstrating everything that you would like the person to engage with. This book includes 28 activities. The activities are grouped under 5 themes: watching, listening, touching, smelling and tasting. These activities are a starting point that will hopefully serve as inspiration for you to think of activities that the person will enjoy.

doyouremembersmallBook: Do you remember? Written by Kelly O’Gara & Anna McNeil. Illustrated by Kelly O’Gara, 2014

This evocative picture book tells a lovely story of the relationship between two mice – one older, one younger – and also includes helpful, age-appropriate suggestions for how 4 – 8 year old children can interact with, and enjoy the company of people with dementia.

smellofchocolateBook: The smell of chocolate: and Pog’s Alzheimer fact file written and illustrated by Barbara McGuire, 2003

This book for children aged 8 – 12 includes a story about a boy and his grandfather, who has Alzheimer’s disease as well as a ‘Fact File’ at the end of the book which includes information on Alzheimer’s disease and a range of strategies children can use to interact with people with dementia, including some tips on communication.

 

Richard Taylor – Collected works

Richard Taylor, a psychologist and person with younger onset dementia was a persuasive and passionate advocate for living well with dementia. Richard generously shared his personal experience of dementia in a range of ways – books, articles, presentations and DVDs. On July 25, 2015 Richard passed away.

Richard was a founding member of Dementia Alliance International. Another founding member of Dementia Alliance International, friend of Richard Taylor and Australian dementia advocate, Kate Swaffer, has written a beautiful and moving tribute to Richard.

Our post today focuses on Richard’s body of work – one that does not shy away from how our community can and must be more dementia-friendly and view people with dementia as just that—whole and real people.

alzheimers_from_the_inside_out_webBook: Alzheimer’s from the inside out by Richard Taylor, 2007

Thoughtful and self-reflective, this collection of illuminating essays offers a rare glimpse into the world of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease. Diagnosed at age 58, psychologist Richard Taylor shares a provocative and courageous account of his slow transformation and deterioration, and of the growing divide between his reality and the reality of others.

With poignant clarity, candor; and humor, Taylor addresses the complexity and emotions surrounding issues such as the loss of independence and personhood, unwanted personality shifts, the struggle to communicate, changing relationships with loved ones and friends, continuous declines in ability to perform familiar tasks, and never-ending uncertainty about the future.

Article: Waiting for Godot, while living with a diagnosis of dementia, probably of the Alzheimer’s type, Richard P. Taylor, Activities Directors’ Quarterly, Vol. 9, no. 1 Winter 2008 p. 14-16

“Yesterday someone asked me if I could/would write my own care plan. A plan of care that I believe would meet my needs today! Of course I first googled “plan of care Alzheimer’s” to discover the elements common to plan of care for someone in the early stages of the disease…”

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

live outside the stigma DVD_webDVD: Live outside the stigma by Richard Taylor, 2011

These are the thoughts I so wish I had access to just after I was diagnosed. It took lots of living to work out and work through these conclusions concerning the myths and stigmas that automatically come with the words “Richard you have Dementia, probably of this or that type.”  These are the words I wish someone far wiser and more experienced than I had spoken to me shortly after I was diagnosed. — Richard Taylor

Article: Measuring “the rubs” of my quality of life, Richard Taylor, Alzheimer’s Care Today, Vol.8, Issue 4, October-December 2007 p. 292-293

“How happy am I? What is the quality of my life? High or low, good or bad, poor or rich? Am I, Can I ever be really happy?…”

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

be_with_me_today_webDVD: “Be with me today.” A challenge to the Alzheimer’s outsider by Richard Taylor, 2009

Richard Taylor was diagnosed with dementia, probably of the Alzheimer’s type, when he was 58 years old. Now 66, Richard speaks to the public about living with the disease and sends out a challenge to the Alzheimer’s outsider. This is the first DVD in a series of Richard’s “TODAYs.” Join Richard as he speaks from his heart, urging all of us to recognize that “THERE IS A PERSON IN THERE.” It is a remarkable documentation of his presentation to aging services professionals, urging them to embrace the culture change philosophy of person-centered care. For anyone who knows, interacts with, works with, or provides services to people with dementia.

Article: Who actually cares about respite care? People who attend it the most – and are consulted the least, Richard Taylor, Activities Directors’ Quarterly, Vol. 8, no. 3 Summer 2007 p. 27-28

“Three cheers for each and every person who works hard in his or her country, state, and community for funding of respite care! It provides a necessary and useful pause for caregivers.

Now, what about the person who uses the service? What about the quality of the service?…”

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

100answers20questions6pers_webDVD: 20 questions 100 answers 6 perspectives hosted by journalist Julie Anderson, this program features Judy Berry, Mona Johnson, G. Allen Power, MD, Richard Taylor, PhD, Sarah Rowan, PhD, and Bill Thomas, MD, 2012.

The topics include:

•Maintaining a respect for the personhood of each person
•Ways to help persons with dementia to continue to live purposefully
•Recognizing differences in forms of dementia
•Medications and behavioral concerns
•End-of-life care
Everyone will be informed, encouraged, and challenged by these well-rounded insights.

Hosted by journalist Julie Anderson, this program features Judy Berry, Mona Johnson, G. Allen Power, MD, Richard Taylor, PhD, Sarah Rowan, PhD, and Bill Thomas, MD.

Here is a list of questions:

1.What is dementia?
2.Are all dementia the same?
3.What is Alzheimer’s disease then?
4.How do care partners approach a person with dementia in relation to types of dementia?
5.We have heard these words; caregiver and care partner. What do they mean?
6.How should a doctor tell you about a diagnosis, especially a terminal diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementia?
7.What is the best way for a physician to present a diagnosis?
8.How would you like the diagnosis relayed to you as a patient or as family member?
9.What role should you take in planning treatment?
10.What criteria would families/professionals use to decide which drug to use?
11.Is there a need for someone with dementia to enroll in clinical trial?
12.Why do people resist accepting a diagnosis?
13.What is the importance for accepting dementia diagnosis?
14.Common phrase, “Alzheimer’s is the long goodbye.” “People with Alzheimer’s disease are fading away.” Is this a stigma? Are people with dementia really fading away?
15.How can someone living with dementia have a sense of purpose?
16.When dementia strikes in the family, what are some of the topics to discuss about dementia diagnosis at the family dinner table?
17.What about hope?
18.How can care partners understand what its like to live with the symptoms of dementia?
19.what are best practices for care partners, professionals and people with dementia?
20.In the life of a person with dementia today what is the role of reminiscing?
21.How can care partners minimize stress?
22.In reality, when should a person with dementia move to assisted living community?
23.It is a human moral responsibility to look out for your neighbor; to have each other’s back. In this context, how should society, governments and families understand and respond to dementia?
We believe that this video is both informative and helpful to you in answering some of the questions you might have. Remember, the answers from each individual in this video are personal opinions.  The video is designed to give you information from various points of view so you can make informed decision as per your situation. Keep in mind that if you have met one person with dementia, you have only met one person with dementia.

living w dementia R Taylor DVD_webDVD: Living with dementia: To change your mind about people whose minds have changed by Richard Taylor & G. Allen Power, 2011

In the first of three parts, Dr. Power makes the case for a paradigm shift needed in the established model of institutional long-term care. Viewers see documented evidence of the negative outcomes that result from traditional care, including the dangerous practice of “medicating away” the predictably negative reactions that emerge in response to standard care practices and attitudes. In describing a new vision of care, Dr. Power describes how to

 

  • Redefine the disease to better understand those experiencing it
  • Stop making people with dementia look and act like we do
  • Recast “problem behaviors” as mechanisms for coping and communicating
  • Find new ways to make normal life experiences accessible to people with dementia
  • Create more opportunities for people to feel connected and find meaning day to day
  • Decrease suffering and increase satisfaction using a new “experiential” model of dementia care

In part two, Dr. Taylor, a former psychologist and educator, articulates the needs, fears, and all-too-common negative experiences of a person diagnosed with dementia. He speaks from the heart on behalf of all those who are unable to communicate for themselves and, at the same time, speaks as one unique individual asking to be respected, supported and, most of all, seen and heard. With surprising candor and wit, he presents moving personal stories and sage advice that provide new insight about the experience of the disease to formal and informal caregivers as well as LTC managers and administrators.

Together, in part three, these two inspiring speakers respond to common questions and concerns, including

  • How to communicate a person’s preferences to care staff
  • Whether asking for opinions and responses from people with dementia is confusing for them
  • Ways to have better long-distance interchanges with a loved one by phone
  • Whether better care practices can be taught or are essentially innate
  • And much more

This valuable training tool helps to raise the awareness of anyone working in long-term care settings to the remaining potential for people with dementia to lead satisfying and fulfilling lives — with appropriate supports — despite their losses.

* G Allen Power is the author of      “Dementia beyond drugs : changing the culture of care” and he discusses parts of his book as well as referring to Tom Kitwood and the Eden principle