Friday, May 25, 2018

Two Minute Activities For Dementia Patients

I researched and found a website with an amazing article about activities for Dementia patients that are quick. Here is the link:






https://www.goldencarers.com/two-minutes-activities-for-dementia-care/4889/ 

I decided to change it a bit and create a list for kids and their family members with Alzheimer's disease.

1. Smile at your family member and look into their eyes
2. Bring a bunch of silly hats or caps and try them on in front of the mirror. (Take pictures)
3. Give your loved one a compliment. Compliments are SO important. I will write a whole entry about compliments on another day!)
4. Look at pictures in a magazine. Point to your favorite colors
5. Hold hands (Family members love to be held, hugged, and touched by their loved ones
6. Play catch
7. Give a quick back rub
8. Tell your family member that you love them!
9. Give a big hug
10. Put scented hand lotion on your family member
11. Dance
12. Listen to music on headphones
13. Look at pictures on an animal or nature calendar
14. Blow bubbles
15. Fold clothes
16. Water plants
17. Hold seashells to your ears to "listen for the ocean"
18. Make a potpourri sash by wrapping spices/herbs in fabric, and guessing the scent
19. Comb your loved one's hair, and let them comb YOUR hair!
20. Read funny poems or limericks (I am thinking about Shel Silverstein!)
21. Sing a nursery rhyme
22. Share a snack
23. Look at pictures
24. Prep a puzzle for solving, by sorting the pieces (flat edges, corners, etc)

What activities can YOU add to the list?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards 2018

Hi Everyone!
I have great news to share!  Along with 9 other kids, I received the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for National Honoree! (https://spirit.prudential.com/honoree/2018/ny/hailey-richman) It was such an amazing experience. I am truly grateful to Prudential. I won the award for Grandma, for the people who suffer from the Alzheimer's disease and the families who love them, especially the kids! I plan to donate some of the award funds to Alzheimer's Disease research. I have lots of big plans!
I am planning to put on puppet shows for kids, to teach them about the disease. I will create short videos which will teach kids.  I am working on a book, and would like to also form Kid Caregiver clubs at schools! I also have a second organization: PuzzlesToRemember, founded by Max Wallack. (www.puzzlestoremember.org). I am the Associate Director.  I have created a PUZZLE TIME program, which pairs up a Girl Scout or kid volunteer with an Alzheimer's patient for an hour of puzzle-solving.  My plan is to have PUZZLE TIME programs nationwide, and in a few countries!  Because of the generosity of Prudential, I will now have funds to help make these plans a reality!

 I won silver (State Honoree) and gold (National Honoree) Prudential Spirit of Community medals.  I put them on grandma's neck to wear.  She did not understand why I have medals but knew it was a good thing.  She saw how happy I was inside and it made her happy. I noticed that my mood, can effect Grandma's mood!  Sometimes, we are not even aware of our moods.  When you visit your family member with Alzheimer's disease, try your best to be in a happy mood, even if you do not feel so happy. It will make the time better. Also if you pretend to be happy, it can MAKE you happy!




Monday, April 23, 2018

COMFORTING QUILTS

Our dear friend, Lynda Everman, made a small "lap sized" quilt for grandma. She asked us to share some of grandma's favorite things.  Grandma's favorite color is green, she loves anything to do with Canada, since she was born there.  Her favorite flower is a bleeding heart.  Lynda made a "scrappy squares" quilt using many different fabrics. She took a green bandana to make some of the green parts.  She had already used some of the green to make a quilt for her late son's best friends.  Some of the heart patterns came from her husband's collection of things from his late wife. The hearts represented grandma's favorite flower, bleeding hearts and represents our love for each other. Lynda's friend Lena, also helped and used stitching that resembled maple leafs - a symbol of Canada! She put so much care and love into it.

Quilts are also called comforters, and for a good reason!  The provide lots of comfort, especially to someone with Alzheimer's disease.  Grandma LOVED the quilt. She thought I made it, and I went along with the idea.  She showed the staff at the nursing home and told them I made it!  She remembered that her favorite color is green and kept running her hands back and forth over the quilt.  I have to agree it is a beautiful quilt, and we really really love it! I spent the day with grandma, and we covered her wheelchair with the quilt and at night tucked her into bed and covered her with the quilt.

Tips


1) If you CAN make a quilt or knit a blanket.  Use colors that your family member loves. Think about their favorite tree, flower, a hobby, something they really like (maybe cats, dogs, etc).

2) If you cannot make a quilt yourself (and not too many of us can, lol) try to purchase a special quilt for your loved one. It is a good purchase and will provide your loved one with comfort!



Saturday, March 24, 2018

Tanya Towers and PUZZLE TIME

I took two Kid Caregiver members to Tanya Towers.  The facility has residents who have cerebral palsy and Alzheimer's disease. Because of modern medicine, people with cerebral palsy live longer, and that means they can develop dementia!  We bought several puzzles that were donated by the springbok Puzzles Company to the facility for PUZZLE TIME. It is an hour filled with puzzle-solving and companionship!  Next month, we will bring some Girl Scouts to the facility for PUZZLE TIME.  Everyone is looking forward to it!  We all know that puzzle-solving stimulates the brain, especially the visual cortex area. The research shows that it improves mood and gives the person a feeling of accomplishment when they complete it.  Don't we all feel good when we finish something!

Tips

1. If someone has trouble moving their hands, show the person the puzzle piece and ask them where to put it. (People living with cerebral palsy may have poor muscle coordination. BUT that doesn't mean they cannot solve a puzzle!)

2. Have the person point with their finger or a pencil where the puzzle piece should be placed.

3. Talk about the theme of the puzzle you are solving. REMEMBER TO ENJOY THE JOURNEY of PUZZLE-SOLVING.  There is NO RUSH to complete it!  Spending time together is the MOST important part of it!  (I enjoyed talking to "Jenna" about the different birds on the puzzle box.  We both agree that the red cardinals are lovely, followed by the blue jays.

4.  Celebrate when the puzzle is solved!  A big thumbs up, a hug, a high five or any other sign of joy is great after the puzzle is complete.





Thursday, March 22, 2018

Exercise And The Brain

There are a lot of scientific articles about how exercising helps the brain. The scientists say it is good for the brain, puts people into a good mood, and could even help a person with thinking skills.  I know grandma loved to do exercises.  Grandma used to do lots of exercise including jogging when she was younger!
When you are in a wheelchair it is hard to do a lot of exercise.  Here are some ideas! All of these activities have been done with grandma!

1) wheelchair basketball
In nice weather I take grandma to the park and we try and throw the basketball into the hoop. It is a lot of fun.  We make up our own rules!

2) Throwing a ball
I throw a beach ball back and forth with grandma. It exercises our our arms.

3) Kicking a ball
Grandma and I like to kick a beach ball back and forth.

4) Wheelchair yoga
I am excited about this activity. I have not tried it yet, but I will follow this youtube video with grandma when I see her again! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4go9rsnKNmA  I like this video because it is only 8 minutes!  (Grandma does not have good attention. People with dementia cannot concentrate, so it is best to not do something that will be too long!)

5) Wii SPORTS  https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/1OTtO06SP7M52gi5m8pD6CnahbW8Czx

Grandma LOVES bowling.  We use an old Wii station and it works out well. We can play "tennis" and "golf". Grandma used to play golf a lot when she was young.

HAVE FUN!


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What To Do If Your Loved One Is In A Bad Mood

Even though grandma is usually happy to see me, sometimes she is in a bad mood.  When I visited her last Sunday, she was very grumpy.  I felt bad about it.  My mom and I researched the reason why people with dementia are sometimes in a bad mood.  It is because of physical and chemical changes in the brain.  A part of the brain that is damaged is called the temporal lobe.  The temporal lobe controls mood and judgement. It is shrinking.

Tips


1. Do not argue with the loved one!
2. Give them a compliment.
3. Distract them. (I told grandma that I won an award, she became happy).
4. Give them headphones with their favorite music.
5. Try not to let it hurt you, they still love you!

Friday, March 9, 2018

EggMazing Egg Decorator Kit

I watched an episode of Shark Tank and learned about the EggMazing Egg Decorator. It is an egg decoration kit. You put an egg (or any round object) in a spinner, hold a marker to it, to create a striped design.
(http://www.eggmazing.com/)  I decided to purchase it and try it out with grandma.
It was the best!  Firstly, it is impossible to make a mistake.  It does not require balancing skills, or even a good grip.

I think it is a great activity for people with dementia.  There are no rules, just hold the marker in your hand and let the egg spin, that's it.  I believe even patients with severe dementia would find joy using the decorator.

  Grandma LOVED designing the eggs.  I actually purchased wooden eggs, so they could be saved forever!  I then experimented with other objects like my EOS lip gloss container which is round.

It can be enjoyed by people who do not want to decorate eggs, since the  round EOS lip glass container worked beautifully. I gather that a ping pong ball or any other oval or round object that is the size of the spinner would work, just fine!

I am really looking forward to bringing Girl Scout Troops and kids from my "Kid Caregivers" group to senior facilities with the Egg Kit.  It will definitely work well with seniors who have Cerebral Palsy and have trouble moving their hands.  It is a fun and enjoyable way to spend time!


Tips for Using The Egg Decorator


1. Show the loved one a finished egg.
2. Demonstrate how to do it on your own egg.
3. Offer the loved one a marker.
4. Gently place the loved one's hand with the marker, over the egg.
5. Offer the loved one different colors
6. Have fun!