Dance and dementia

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Dance has always been a part of cultural rituals and celebrations. But most dancing is about recreation and self-expression and is an enjoyable way to be more physically active. A diagnosis of dementia should not change this.

This blog looks at some of the evidence around the benefits of this activity as well as some supporting resources for incorporating dance into the lives of people living with dementia.

comedancewithmeCome dance with me

Come Dance with Me is a two-hour long workshop  that uses dance to bring joy and stimulate the minds of people with dementia.
Read an interview with workshop facilitator and professional dance artist Tiina Alinen to learn more about creative dance and how it embraces inclusivity.

For more information on this program Beverley Giles showcases Come Dance With Me, and talks about the  failure-free fun where the motto is ‘there is no wrong way only your way’
in The Australian Journal of Dementia Care Vol 6 No 3 June/July 2017 p.19
Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

01AJDCJJ17cover_2The joy and freedom of dance

Gwen Korebrits, Amy Gajjar and Sarah Palmer introduce Dancewise, a movement program suitable for people at all stages of dementia living in care homes
in The Australian Journal of Dementia Care Vol 6 No 3 June/July 2017 p.15-18
available online

 

danceforlifeDance for life : an evaluation of the pilot program (2016)

At the start of this project, the Dance for
Life team was aware of the growing body of
evidence showing the benefits of creative
arts for people living with dementia, but
had no fixed idea of how the project would
take shape. Early questions centered on the stage of
dementia that they might target in selecting
potential participants. Would they aim to
recruit those in early stages of dementia who might be able to learn routines and
follow instructions? Or would they work with those in the later stages with more limited
ability to understand, those who may struggle to communicate verbally and have
limited mobility?  Read the full evaluation

bestofsittingdancesBest of Sitting Dances Kit  (2008)

Best of Sitting Dances is a ‘Life. Be in it’ program encouraging gentle movement to music from a chair sitting position. It is a fun program for people with limited mobility, encouraging participation at all levels from the basic to the flamboyant!
The 13 dances range from slow and rhythmic to faster, more exuberant.
Each dance starts with a visual backdrop to stimulate interest and create the potential for stories, themes, reminiscing and jollity! Also included is a little background information on each dance and tips for leaders.

invitation to the danceInvitation to the dance  /  Heather Hill, Gary King and Ian Cullen  (2009)

This book provides guidance for anyone who would like to help people with dementia move expressively to music. It gives suggestions for approaches, props and music and provides vivid descriptions of the difference that dance can make to people’s wellbeing.
Includes a 6-track CD of music used by the author in her dance therapy sessions with people with dementia.

dance and movement sessionsDance and movement sessions for older people : a handbook for activity organisers and carers  /  Delia Silvester with Susan Frampton.  (2014)

The authors describe the many benefits of dance and movement for older people, and address important practical considerations such as carrying out risk assessments, safety issues, adaptations for specific health conditions and disabilities and how to select appropriate props and music. Step-by-step instructions for 20 dances and movements drawn from a wide range of eras, cultures and traditions are then provided. Ranging from Can Can and Charleston to hand jive, morris dancing, sea shanties and traditional hymns with movements, there is something to suit every mood and occasion.

AJDC_FebMar15Everyone can dance  /  John Killick  (2015)

John Killick is a poet and author who has been exploring the world as seen by people with dementia for two decades. This article is one of a series in which he looks at the role of art, in all its forms, in releasing the creative potential of people with dementia
in Australian Journal of Dementia Care, Vol. 4, No. 1, February/March 2015, p.7-8
Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

SmileandSway_DVDSmile & sway: seated movement program  /  Gina Buber and Ella Charles for the SMILE Program  (2014)

Smile and sway is a fun, low impact seated workout based on the music and style of ballroom and latin dancing. You’ll move to easy to follow choreographed routines to rhythms of Foxtrot, Cha Cha Cha, Tango and more.
more information 

Like to borrow a book or access an article from our library? Information on how

Dementia information sites, social media and apps from Alzheimer’s Australia

Alzheimer’s Australia provides a range of websites that specialise in different aspects of dementia or dementia-related issues. This post has collected all our information sources in a central location for your convenience.

Website: Engage Enable Empower, Alzheimer’s Australia

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This website is for people living with dementia

It is possible to live a good quality life with dementia. It is surprising how small changes to lifestyle can lead to better health and well being!

Website: You are not alone: online dementia support and counselling, Alzheimer’s Australia VIC

helpingwdementiawebsite2Alzheimer’s Australia Vic’s online dementia support for people living with dementia, their families and carers

If you or a loved one has dementia and you need information, counselling, support and to connect with others in your situation then this website can help you.

Through this website you can:

  • arrange free online counselling (email or videoconference)
  • learn about dementia
  • connect with others in the same situation as you
  • discover where and how to get help

At Alzheimer’s Australia Vic we know that dementia can affect every area of life for you and your loved ones and that it can be difficult to know what to do. We have staff ready to help. So click, explore and connect to find a better way to live with dementia.

App: Dementia-friendly home, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic

appdemfriendlyThe Dementia-Friendly Home App in now available. Using interactive 3D game technology Unreal Engine, the tablet app provides carers with ideas to make their home more accessible for people living with dementia.

With 70 per cent of people with dementia living in the community, the app enables the home to be made more dementia-friendly. This can allow the person to stay in their own home, enjoy their regular lifestyle activities and remain engaged with their community for longer.

The Dementia-Friendly Home App is now available for iPad from the App Store and Android tablets from the Google Play Store for AU$2.99.

Website: Dementia Research Foundation, Alzheimer’s Australia

dementiaresearchfoundationThe Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation is the research arm of Alzheimer’s Australia and funds talented new and early career Australian dementia researchers. It has information on the latest research on dementia – including studies looking for participants. Those wanting funding for studies can find out more about research grants on offer.

Website: Is It Dementia, Alzheimer’s Australia SA

is_it_dementiaThis educational site includes information relevant to a range of different industries to support identification of possible dementia-related behaviours and assisting people who may have dementia.

Industries covered include: Public Transport; Emergency Services; Retail; Fire; Banking; Correctional Services; Community.

Website: Start2Talk, Alzheimer’s Australia

start2talk_webThis site provides advice on how to plan for the future. It includes advice on planning for different stages of dementia, estate planning, powers of attorney, information for healthcare professionals on how to assist patients with this planning, finances and mechanisms to review plans as things progress.

Website: Dementia Enabling Environments, Alzheimer’s Australia WA

dementia_enabling_environmentsDeveloping an enabling environment for a person living with dementia can make a significant difference to independence, quality of life and wellbeing.

A well designed garden, or an interior planned with cognitive impairment in mind can provide essential prompts, accessibility and reduce risks to support a person with dementia to maintain abilities and take part in meaningful engagement. A poorly designed environment can be at best confusing and disorienting, and at worst disabling and even dangerous for those with dementia.

This Virtual Information Centre provides practical tips, guides and resources to help make the places in which we live more dementia enabling: from simple modifications that anybody can make to their home, to landscaping suggestions and architectural design for dementia care environments.

Website: Detect Early – A resource for healthcare professionals, Alzheimer’s Australia

detectearly1Healthcare professionals – whether in the community or in specialist care settings – are crucial in the early detection of dementia, helping to facilitate early intervention and better patient outcomes.

This site provides a wide range of resources and tools to help detect and manage dementia at the early stages.

For GPs, there’s the GPCOG, a screening tool specially designed for use in general practice,1 as well as educational resources targeted at community healthcare.

For pharmacists, there are tailored educational resources to assist with early intervention, as well as patient-focused materials in our Managing Dementia section.

By detecting dementia early, we can assist people with dementia – and their carers – to plan ahead and make crucial decisions about the future.

Website: Younger Onset Dementia forum: Talk Dementia, Alzheimer’s Australia

talk_dementia_YOD_webThis forum provides a place where younger people with dementia, their families, carers and friends can gather and share information. It provides a place to share your stories, connect with others in a similar situation, ask questions and share information.

Website: Your Brain Matters, Alzheimer’s Australia

YBMwebsite3Research shows you can reduce your risk of developing dementia through Five Simple Steps to maximise brain health. Your Brain Matters™ is Alzheimer’s Australia’s evidence-based dementia risk reduction program. You will learn about the five simple steps to maximise your brain health and get tips on living a brain healthy life to potentially reduce your risk of developing dementia.

Website: Dementia Daily, Alzheimer’s Australia NSW

dementiadaily2 Dementia Daily has up to date research and news, videos for adults and kids on dementia, connects people to online dementia communities and blogs, Help Sheets and more.

Video resources: Alzheimer’s Australia YouTube channel

Video resources: Alzheimer’s Australia Vic YouTube channel

Social Media: Alzheimer’s Australia VIC Facebook page

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Social Media: Alzheimer’s Australia Vic Twitter

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Website: FightDementia.org.au, Alzheimer’s Australia

fightdementiawebsiteOur organisational website includes a range of state-specific and national information about dementia-related events, education opportunities, publications and news. Find out about the services available in each Australian state or territory as well as how you can access them. Browse our extensive collection of help sheets to find out more about dementia, watch videos or read a publication. This rich website caters to a range of information needs. Materials such as help sheets are also frequently available in languages other than English.

App: Brainy app, Alzheimer’s Australia

brainyappBrainyApp was developed in 2011 by Alzheimer’s Australia in partnership with Bupa Health Foundation to raise awareness of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, and to help you be brain healthy.

There are more than 353,800 Australians currently living with dementia, with this number set to increase to 900,000 by 2010.

There is something you can do to reduce your risk. Scientific evidence tells us that certain lifestyle and health behaviours, particularly around midlife, are associated with reduced risk of developing dementia in late life. So, look after your brain health to reduce your risk of dementia. It’s never too early or late to start, as brain health can be improved and protected at any age.

BrainyApp is available internationally for Apple and Android devices for FREE. You can download BrainyApp from the Apple and Google app stores.

Or you can use BrainyApp on your computer, at BrainyApp.com.au

Ministering to people with dementia

This post describes our resources on ministering to people with dementia. Should you be interested in any of these resources, you can request them using this handy form.

JDCJulyAug2004Article: Spirituality, religion and faith in dementia care by Malcolm Goldsmith, Journal of Dementia Care 12(4), 2004

Despite the many definitions of ‘spirituality’, there is an increasingly united sense of its importance in dementia care. Malcolm Goldsmith reflects on what religious and spiritual ideas have to offer, and on relations between churches and people with dementia.

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

spirituality and ageingBook: Spirituality and Ageing edited by Albert Jewell, 1999

This book presents the experience of ageing as an opportunity for spiritual reflection and affirmation of life. The contributors are religious and spiritual leaders and ethical thinkers from a range of different backgrounds. They define ‘spirituality’ not just as a religious concept but as the fulfillment of the universal human need for purpose, values and relationships – a sense of wholeness in life. This spiritual dimension helps people face the emotional and psychological challenges of growing older, such as memory loss, dementia, bereavement and fear of death. Existing systems of social care often focus on the material and physical needs of older people; this collection proposes that the spiritual needs for older people are as vital a consideration for their welfare. Through their spirituality, older people can attain a fuller appreciation and understanding of life, which can also inform and enrich the lives of others. Spirituality and Ageing will be an invaluable resource for carers looking for a holistic and more reflective approach to work with other people.

guideministeringalzheimerspatienBook: Guide to Ministering to Alzheimer’s Patients and Their Families, Pat Otwell, 2007

Guide to Ministering to Alzheimer’s Patients and Their Families examines the importance of spirituality in dealing with the everyday challenges of this mysterious disease. Not a “how-to” manual with step-by-step instructions or tried and true formulas, this unique book instead examines the essential elements of ministering to dementia patients based on first-hand accounts of family members living through pain and uncertainty. The book explores the nature and stages of Alzheimer’s: the desire to minister; theological understanding; grief and guilt; communicating with Alzheimer’s patients; spiritual needs and implications for spiritual care; ethical issues and the role of ministry in decision-making; models for ministry; faith, hope, and love; blessings; and resources. This book is designed for all who desire to minister to those affected by Alzheimer’s – especially pastors, priests, chaplains, pastoral counselors, church leaders, healthcare professionals, and seminary students.

JDCMayJune2003Article: Holding a religious service for people with dementia by Patricia Higgins, Journal of Dementia Care 11(3), May/June 2003

Patricia Higgins looks at how holding a religious ceremony can enrich life and well-being for people with dementia.

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

ministeringpeoplewdementiaGuide: Ministering to people with dementia: a pastoral guide, Catholic Health Australia, 2008

inistering to People with Dementia: A Pastoral Guide , produced by Catholic Health Australia in cooperation with Alzheimer’s Australia is a practical handbook for the spiritual care of people with dementia. The Guide has been written expressly for those working in parish settings to assist in the provision of spiritual care of parishioners with dementia both at home and in residential care within the local community.

inastrangelandBook: In a strange land… : people with dementia and the local church : a guide and encouragement for ministry, Malcolm Goldsmith, 2004

About one person in twenty over the age of sixty-five and about one in five over the age of eighty have dementia. These people will have spouses, partners, children, relatives and friends. It is likely therefore that just about every church congregation and community will have a number of people affected, directly or indirectly, by dementia.

    • How do clergy and lay leaders, members of the congregation and others understand, relate to and support these people?
    • What happens to the faith of people with dementia? How do their carers cope with faith issues?
    • What happens when people move into residential or nursing homes or into hospital? What forms of ministry are appropriate?

This book, written by someone who has spent many years as a parish priest is full of reflections and suggestions. It is an attempt to guide and encourage people in this important but often neglected area of ministry.

Spirituality the heart of nursingBook: Spirituality : the heart of nursing edited by Professor Susan Ronaldson, foreword by Professor Mary Bailey, 1997

People in many cultures have long been aware of themselves as having a spirit as well as body and as being influenced by spiritual energies and spiritual presences.

Nurses know that something exists beyond the day-to-day care of people. Nurses are with people in time of crisis, when the mind turns to thoughts of what exists beyond. When a nurse can help someone to confront issues of doubt and belief, the sense of fulfillment explains why nurses do what they do.

This is a book to pick up and delve into. The chapters are written by experienced nurses in a style and language that is easy to understand. Here you will find knowledge and ideas that may help you make your own spiritual journey as well as helping people in your care to make theirs.

Spirituality:The Heart of Nursing is written by Australia nurses, from their own experience, for the benefit of other nurses. The message of the book is that nurses are special people conscious that our spiritual well-being is just as important as our physical health.

Still Alice

still alice movieIn January 2015 a film version of the book Still Alice by Lisa Genova was released. This film has received critical acclaim and to date, has won multiple awards.

If you’ve read Still Alice or seen the film you already know that it is a story of a psychology professor Alice Howland (played by Julianne Moore) who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The story describes her life from early warning signs, through diagnosis and then follows her progress through the onset of symptoms. It eloquently illustrates the impact of Alzheimer’s disease for Alice and for her family.

This post includes articles prompted by the release of the film Still Alice—reviews, commentaries and a podcast. It is not an exhaustive list, but rather a small sampler of the discussions initiated by Still Alice’s cinematic interpretation.

Remember, we have copies of the novel version of Still Alice in the Alzheimer’s Australia VIC library. Here’s a link to a review of the book on this blog – scroll down a bit, the review of Still Alice is lower on the page. You can contact us or come and visit us if you’d like to borrow a copy.

Once the film is released on DVD you will also be able to borrow a copy of the film from our library.

Article: Still Alice is ‘shockingly accurate’ – people living with dementia give their verdict, Tom Seymour, 11 February 2015, The Guardian

Julianne Moore is an Oscar favourite for her portrayal of a woman with dementia in Still Alice. But what do people with the condition think of the film?

megaphonePodcast: A review of the film Still Alice, panel discussion by Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation, Episode 25.

On January 29, Still Alice was released in Australian cinemas, a movie based on fictional character Alice Howland from her dementia diagnosis through to onset of symptoms. Throughout the movie Alice slowly but inevitably loses memory and connection with reality. She gradually loses the ability to follow a conversational thread, the story line of a book, or to recall information she heard just moments before. All common dementia symptoms. Many film critics are raving about Julianne Moore’s portrayal of Alice, and she has already won a Golden Globe award for best actress and is number 1 pick to win a prestigious Oscar. So what do others think of the movie, particularly those who are close to the cause and is the movie sending the right messages about ‘what is dementia?’ While the overall view of the movie is positive, some critics do say the film is overly “pristine” and “shies away from taking risks”, while also not being plausibly representative of the typical experience of dementia in choosing to focus on an “almost perfect … privileged family.” Others ask if it focuses enough on the latter stages, along with the impact placed on families and carers. In this special extended episode of the Dementia News I am pleased to have joining with me, three expert panellists, Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer (Griffith University), Dr Andrew Watt (Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health) and Jill Brown (Alzheimer’s Australia ACT), to give their views of the movie and discuss just how close to real life it is.

Article: ‘Hollywood’ movie sparks dementia conversation, DPS News

It is expected that a new Hollywood movie, starring a lineup of well known actors, will lead to greater awareness of the ‘enormous’ dementia challenge facing Australia, particularly those experiencing younger onset dementia.

the conversationArticle: Still Alice, and the advocacy for Alzheimer’s in fiction, Matthew Wade, 29 January 2015, The Conversation

Still Alice – starring Julianne Moore – tells the story of Alice Howland, a linguistics professor diagnosed with a form of early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Moore has already netted a Golden Globe and is clear favourite for a well-deserved Best Actress Oscar next month.

The novel on which the film is based is one of a clutch of debuts in recent years to explore forms of neurodegenerative disease. So what role does fiction play in our understanding, and acceptance, of dementia?…