April 18, 2016






There are many families where dementia affects the parents and the children need to take control. Judith Levy writes this book from the perspective not only as the child but also her perspective as an experienced Occupational therapist who has worked in geriatric care for more than 40 years. As I read through this book I realized I tried many of the activities she suggested in residential and day care. I had also done many of the activities with my own children. However unless I had to deal with a family member all the ideas suggested would be new. The family carers often need the most help on presenting activities that are achievable and enjoyable to the older person with dementia. That older person needs more that physical comfort and help with (activities of daily living ) ADL’s. Judith explains what activities she has done in a readable way and encourages the user to assess each activity using an assessment template. She explains how she sets up the workspace and where she sits with her mother.

At first read you might think these activities are childish. However I have tried many and while the activities are often similar to what children might do at school or play it is how they are presented that is the key. If the client is content then the activity cannot be considered demeaning. My favourite new activity she suggested is making patterns with real objects. I also like the concept of making pieces out of popup beads. I like the way she suggests how to adapt the activity as her parent’s condition declines. They no longer cook together but discuss the ingredients. When the parent has forgotten how to start a drawing she starts it off and so forth.

This book is invaluable for those clients that are caring for a family member. Their frustrations are many and people involved in dementia support need to pass on resources and ideas. There are many of the 50+ ideas that can be used by all staff in aged care especially those who do individual activities.

*to borrow one or more of these resources email  nsw.library@alzheimers.org.au or
Phone  the library on 02 9888 4218
you may also enjoy the following resources

We can, we can, we can: purpose and pleasure for people living with dementia
Activity must meet our need for meaning and connection, as well as providing an outlet for creativity, spirituality, joy, fun, and relaxation. Every one of us has leisure and recreation preferences. Not all want to sing in a group, join a club or make and create. Some love company, while others prefer time alone. And every person’s experience of life lived with dementia is unique. These infinite variations mean there can be no “one size fits all” approach to activities for purpose and pleasure. This collection of activities respects that diversity, as well as the need for a person-centred approach to activities.

Relate, motivate, appreciate: a Montessori approach : promoting positive interaction with people with dementia

The Relate, Motivate, Appreciate model: Relate The person you know has lived a rich and full life. They may have been a parent, spouse, brother, sister, professional, housewife, friend and/or lover. The first and most important step is to be able to relate to and focus on what were their past experiences. Motivate Most of us are motivated by things we enjoy. When considering activities that the person might enjoy, we need to reflect on their past life experience. What activities did they do in the past? For example, did they enjoy: • cooking? – if so, consider pouring or mixing activities • accounting? – counting, writing , gardening? – growing vegetables or flowers • music? – listening, dancing, playing an instrument. Appreciate You may experience feelings of loss and grief for the relationship you once had with the person living with dementia. With these in mind it is important that we try to give the person some confidence and roles back and, in that sense, return some meaning to their lives. The aim should be to enable the person living with dementia to regain control of aspects of their life, through meaningful activities that have a purpose..

Creating moments of joy : for the person with Alzheimer's or dementia
When a person has short-term memory loss, his life is made up of moments. We are not able to create a perfectly wonderful day with those who have dementia, but it is absolutely attainable to create perfectly wonderful moments—moments that put smiles on their faces, a twinkle in their eyes, or trigger memories. Five minutes later, they won’t remember what you did or said, but the feeling you left them with will linger.

It includes tips for dealing with distressed behaviour !

Within the sections are smaller steps. At the end of each step is a place where you can journal your thoughts, solutions, and treasures to help you achieve the overall goal of creating many moments of joy for the person with dementia, and for YOU!

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