Tip of the Week 01/13/03

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There are many therapies that can help enrich the lives of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Create guidelines for all activities in order to ensure their effectiveness. Here are some suggestions:

Music – Identify music that’s familiar and enjoyable to the listeners and choose music that fits a desired mood. Encourage movement (clapping, dancing) to add to the enjoyment. Then link the music with other reminiscence activities; use questions or photographs to help stir memories.

Art – Keep the project on an adult level. Avoid using crayons or anything else that might be demeaning or seem child-like. Make sure the materials are safe and non-toxic. Help the person begin the activity. If the person is painting, you may need to start the brush movement. Most other projects should only require basic instruction and assistance. Allow the person plenty of time; they don’t have to finish the project in one sitting. Also remember that the artwork is complete when the person says it is.

Pets – Not everyone will react positively to animals, however those who owned pets previously tend to be more responsive. Try to match the animal’s activity and energy level with that of the individual. For example, a lively dog might be appropriate for someone who can go out for a walk; a cat may be more appropriate for a person who is less mobile.

(Source: Alzheimer's Association)

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