March 24, 2017

Journal of Dementia Care - Vol 25 No 2 March/April 2017

Full text articles and books are available to members of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW by emailing

Editorial Comment
‘Slow care’ an ambition worth fighting for – it takes time to deliver good care and that is the main  commodity that healthcare professionals don’t have. Like the slow food movement the slow care movement advocates a swing to activities such as life story work- as it involves active listening, promotes well-being and connectivity …

email to borrow resources
 bfn Michelle 

It started with a sea-shell : life story work and people with dementia
Dementia Services Development Centre (University of Stirling)
Establishes the importance of life story work for people with dementia; argues that everyone can get involved and offers practical ideas and a charter of good practice.
Contents: 1. Life story: a view from the literature -- 2. The experience of doing life story work -- 3. Good practice in doing life story work and compiling life story books -- 4. Getting life story work to happen.
Page 5

Life Story Work with People with Dementia : Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary People

Introducing life story work, a way for people with dementia to connect with their relatives, carers and the professionals working with them. This evidence-based book explains the many benefits of life story work, with practical guidance for introducing it in a variety of settings. The authors show how life story work can empower people with dementia to inform care practitioners and family members what care and support they may need now and in the future, by taking into account their past and their future wishes and aspirations. The book includes practical information on how to get started, ethical considerations such as consent and confidentiality, and considers issues of diversity and how to address them. The voices of practitioners, researchers and family carers sit alongside those of people living with dementia to present a wide-range of perspectives on life story 

The handbook of structured life review

Clear and concise, The Handbook of Structured Life Review synthesizes 30 years of research and practice using the Structured Life Review process. Structured Life Review is a one-on-one therapeutic technique that guides people in reflecting on their lives from early childhood to the present. This approach allows individuals to learn from past experiences, settle unresolved issues, and ultimately achieve a state of life acceptance. Participants benefit from increased life satisfaction, reduced depression, and the opportunity for reconciliation, acceptance, and serenity. Following this user-friendly handbook, Structured Life Review sessions can be easily led by professionals and non-professionals alike: social workers, counselors, activity staff, or even volunteers. The book thoroughly explains the role of the Therapeutic Listener and describes useful counseling and communication techniques. Step-by-step goals, instructions, and sample dialogue for eight separate sessions provide a blueprint for conducting life reviews. Handy appendices include assessment tools and a Life Review Form with recommended questions for each session. Structured Life Review is appropriate for people of all ages, including older adults in senior centers, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing centers, and home settings. The approach is especially beneficial for individuals experiencing stress, undergoing major change, or coping with grief or a traumatic event. Additionally, Structured Life Review not only fulfils current requirements for meaningful activities but meets the criteria for short-term therapy covered by Medicare and other insurance providers.

Writing life histories : a guide for use in caring environments
by Robin Dynes
Writing Life Histories is a practical handbook which gives clear guidance on how to put together life histories in supportive or residential settings. It provides: Step-by-step guidance. Ideas for different types of life histories. Activities, strategies and material for prompting memories. Helpful tools and writing tips. Suggestions for support and forming partnerships with other local services. Ideas for involving the person s family and friends. Discussion on ethical issues to be considered. The benefits of engaging a group or an individual in life history activities include an aid to memory; creative stimulation; a personalised identity when in a residential home; promotion of interaction and co-operation with others; continuity with previous life experience thus combating loss of identity as well as an excellent opportunity to pass on knowledge and experience to others. For staff knowing about past experiences will promote an understanding of behaviour, needs and outlook on life resulting in more personalised care. Staff have references for conversation with cognitive impaired individuals and knowledge about life accomplishments which promotes respect for individuals.

Changed priorities for a new dementia strategy

Key points :
·         promising cures are often reported in the media but their consistent failure does not make big news headlines
·         social support offers more benefit than medical treatments do
·         current state of knowledge suggests that prevention/risk reduction will yield the most benefit
·         placing dementia on  a war footing metaphor may be the wrong metaphor
·         person-centred approaches to people living with dementia and their carers are also helpful to people with other complex  problems such as frailty

Positive spin : the benefits cycling brings

Cycling is fun and taps into procedural memory which can remain remarkably unaffected in people with cognitive impairments – benefits include inclusivity and validation …p14

Smart technology to monitor health and wellbeing

They may be in homes or around necks – they can yield round the clock information
..p 18

Immersive learning leads to being inspired and energised

Looks at a pilot program in five hospitals - - 3 different learning sets included … p 20

Life story work in dementia care – a new road map

Uses the 5 Ps -  principles – purpose - process - product – PERSON.
P 22

What is the truth? Dilemmas when 2 realities meet
Should we always tell the truth to people with dementia – by graham Stokes …
Looks at a continuum



Truth-telling causes unnecessary distress

Truth-telling creates happiness or necessary negative emotions

Untruths cause unnecessary distress

Untruth create
Need to take a flexible, tailored approach – person first, strategy second

*two reports email to borrow resources
 bfn Michelle 

The vital importance of oral health in demenita care
Poor oral health I soften associated with dementia – but skilled professional interventions can break the link.
Dementia and the mouth – the range, speed and co-ordination of mouth and tongue  movements lead to problems
Practical tools – eg brushing teeth twice a day…

email to borrow resources
 bfn Michelle 

Dental Rescue: A Guide for Carers of the Elderly 

is an educational dental drama that will amuse, motivate and educate. An ideal tool for orientating professional and non-professional carers in oral health practices, it will develop skills in dental hygiene and denture care; identify how to prevent dental problems occurring; teach management strategies for residents with challenging behaviours; address occupational health and safety issues; and give an appreciation of how oral health affects well being. Dental Rescue: A Guide for Carers of the Elderly is captioned for deaf and hard of hearing audiences.  

Key learning goals include developing skills in dental hygiene and denture care; identifying how to prevent dental probelms occuring; managing challenging behaviours; appreciating how oral health affects wellbeing and addressing occupational health and safety issues.

Younger onset dementia and the benefits of employment
Loss of a job can bring loss of purpose and self-esteem in its wake. Jacqueline Chang and colleagues found that work-based interventions can have important benefits for people with young onset dementia and argue it should be the strategy of choice for services

Vol 25 No 2 Page 30

·         Includes a systematic review
·         The impact on Personhood
·         Employment based interventions –includes different types of interventions
Spouse carers: the importance of motivation
Family carers are a crucial resource in the care and support of people with dementia, but their motivations for caring can make the difference between success and failure. William Tai discusses his study of support workers’ views on the way motivations can change and undermine carers’ health
Key points
·         Importance of carers’ motivations plays an important role
·         Informal family carers save vast amounts of  government money
·         The experience of caring for a spouse or loved one with dementia is unique
·         There has been little research exploring the motivations for family  care giving in the advanced stages of dementia
·         Support workers interviewed for this study suggested that family carers start out with ‘intrinsic ’ motivations – such as ‘I care because I love my spouse’ and then move to a more ‘extrinsic’ view  eg ‘I care because I don’t want to be judged by others’
·         Extrinsic motivations may take over from intrinsic motivations due to the cumulative impact of the condition
·         The dominating presence of the extrinsic motivations may hinder the prospect of continued caring by family and also due to poorer carer health as an impact of the role
·         Anticipating and targeting motivations, emphasising and reinforcing any intrinsic ones and through talk based modalities may have a role in the help we offer spouses

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