Sunday, October 27, 2013
h t i w g n i v Li
Couple leans of on faith to fight dementia Page 3F
Sundowning it’s for real Page 5F
A special supplement to The Daily Nonpareil
Mind over matter to battle a father’s Alzheimer’s disease Page 6F
2F Sunday, October 27, 2013
Living with Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s raises more than $16,000 Large fundraiser dedicated to disease care, support and research programs Craig Howell More than 200 residents from Council Bluffs joined the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s and united in a movement to reclaim the future for millions. This year the annual event took place on Sept. 7, at Tom Hanafan’s River Edge Park and included a walk across the Bob Kerry pedestrian bridge. Participants raised more than $16,000 to fund Alzheimer’s care, support and research programs. “I was inspired by Council Bluff’s residents uniting in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s,” said Vivian Ewing, the Executive Director for the Midlands Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “With funds raised, the Alzheimer’s Association will be able to provide much needed care and support to people affected by the disease as well as fund critically needed Alzheimer’s research.” Walk to End Alzheimer’s participants did more than complete the two miles walk. They learned more about Alzheimer’s disease and the Association’s critical role in the fight against the disease, including the latest information about Alzheimer’s research and current clinical trials; how they can become involved in advocacy efforts at home and in Washington, DC and the Association’s support programs and services. The event also included an emotional tribute to those who have experienced or are experiencing Alzheimer’s. The Council Bluffs Walk included statements from the Mayor’s Office as well as a moving speech by State Senator Mark Brandenburg who recently lost his father to the disease. Care Initiatives, Iowa Hospice by Harden Healthcare, and Bethany Lutheran Home/Bethany Heights were presenting sponsors for the Walk. The top two fundraising teams were “Harold’s Herd” and “Hittin the Road for Al.” Alzheimer’s disease is a growing epidemic and is now the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. As baby boomers age, the number of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease will rapidly escalate, increasing well beyond today’s more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. In Iowa alone, there are 69,000 people living with Alzheimer’s. For more information or to make a donation to the walk, visit alz.org/walk. About the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s: The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research. Since 1989, the Alzheimer’s Association mobilized millions of Americans in the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk; now the Alzheimer’s Association is continuing to lead the way with Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Together, we can end Alzheimer’s. About the Alzheimer’s Association: The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s research, care and support. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
– Craig Howell is the development director for the Alzheimer’s Association Midlands Chapter.
Alzheimer’s affects more than the elderly
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Programs and Services
Viv L. Ewing, Ph.D. Many people are not aware of this but Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Youngeronset (also known as early-onset) Alzheimer’s affects people younger than age 65. Nearly four percent of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s have younger-onset. Who gets early onset Alzheimer’s? Many people with early onset are in their 40s and 50s. They have families, careers or are even caregivers themselves when Alzheimer’s disease strikes. In the United States, it is estimated that more than 200,000 people have early onset. Diagnosing early onset Alzheimer’s Since many health care providers generally don’t look for Alzheimer’s disease in younger people, getting an accurate diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s can sometimes be a long and frustrating process. Symptoms may be incorrectly attributed to stress or there may be conflicting diagnoses from different health care professionals. People who have early onset Alzheimer’s may be in any stage of dementia such as early stage, middle stage, or late stage. The disease affects each person differently and symptoms will vary. If you are experiencing memory problems: • Write down symptoms of memory loss or other cognitive difficulties to share with your health care professional. • Have a comprehensive medical evaluation with a doctor who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease. Getting a diagnosis involves a medical exam and possibly cognitive tests, a neurological exam and/or brain imaging. • Call the Alzheimer’s Association at (402) 502-4300 or call our 24 hour helpline at (800) 2723900. Someone will be available to talk to you 24 hours a day, every day.
– Viv L. Ewing, Ph.D. is the president of the Alzheimer’s Association Midlands Chapter.
As the premier source of information, support and education for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, their families and caregivers, the Alzheimer’s Association Midlands Chapter offers a broad range of programs and services including:
24/7 Helpline Community Presentations Caregiver Educational Presentations Support Groups Care Consultation Program MedicAlert® + Safe Return® Program TrialMatch™ Clinical Trial Locator Dementia Care Education for Healthcare Professionals Professional Conferences and Workshops Lunch and Learn Presentations Resource Lending Library Chapter E- Newsletter: Perspectives When you have questions about Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, turn to us.
712.322.8840 24/7 Helpline − 1.800.272.3900 Visit us online: alz.org/midlands
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Living with Alzheimer’s
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Couple leans on faith to fight dementia Ashlee Coffey
Duane and Peggy King are people of faith. And that faith is what helped pull them through when Peggy was diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Dementia, which doctors told them was the worst form of dementia possible. The Council Bluffs couple’s ordeal with the illness began in January 2010, when Peggy’s personality began to slowly change. “I’ve always been such a wonderful person,” Peggy said with a laugh. “So everyone who lived with me could readily know that something was going on because my personality took a rapid change.” She became aggressive and angry. She had panic attacks and severe pain. She would also do out of the ordinary things, like steal, pull her skirt down in public, strike her husband, scream loudly, and kiss just about anyone, among other things. “I went into Walgreens and stole a pair of sunglasses. Duane was with me and I just put them in my pocket,” she said. “I thought I’d get by with it until I walked out the door and the buzzer went off. He said, ‘What do you have in your pocket?’ I said, ‘Sunglasses because I want a new pair.’” “I suggested she stop stealing things and she reared back and hit me in the nose really hard,” Duane said. “And she’d walk up to a stranger and if they said something nice to her, she’d just kiss them right on the lips. She sure surprised some people.” According to Peggy, the illness takes away a person’s reasoning power. “In retrospect, I think I knew I was displeasing people in some way and I didn’t like that but I didn’t realize it was wrong to do those things,” she said. Duane said it wasn’t long before he “strongly suspected” what was wrong. “I was sad. I figured I’d lost my wife,” he said. “It was terrible. Just terrible, terrible, terrible.” They were told by doctors that nothing could be done. “A professional at a nursing
Peggy King, and her husband, Duane, at their home earlier this month.
‘That was the saddest day of my life, too, being locked in and to watch my family leave. And to think I would be there until I died – locked away. I was only 69.’ – Peggy King
home told me, ‘Just pray she dies quickly,’” Duane said. “She got worse and worse, which is what the doctor said would happen.” Together, Duane and Peggy had to start making very difficult decisions. First, they sold their house in Council Bluffs – a home they’d lived in for 39 years and where both of their children had been raised. In the basement of the house, they had even started Deaf Ministries, which seeks to “communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ with deaf people,” according to its website. In July of 2010, the couple moved to Risen Son Christian Village, a large retirement complex with several levels of care, including a Dementia or Memory Unit. “We had only lived here
about a month and she was running away or in danger of starting a fire on the stove – stuff like that. So I put her in over there (in the Memory Unit),” Duane said. That was in August. “That was the saddest day of my life,” Duane said, tearing up. “But she was bad – really bad.”
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Peggy agreed. “That was the saddest day of my life, too, being locked in and to watch my family leave,” she said. “And to think I would be there until I died – locked away. I was only 69.” At the time she went in, Peggy said she was “scared to death” and thought it would be the worst thing that’s happened to her. “One man was so sick he would holler and scream at night,” she said. “In the middle of the night once, he walked into my room and said to me, ‘Will
you help me find my mother?’ I felt compassion for him – I wanted to help him.” But eventually, Peggy began to adjust to living at the Memory Unit. She started making friends and even helping. Her husband would visit every day and her children visited often, as well. Many people also began to pray for them. “We had thousands of people pray for us. I believe that’s why I accepted it after I finally got used to it there, which took awhile. But I did accept it,” she said. “It wasn’t horrible in the Memory Unit. Many people think it’s a horrible place but it’s a good place. They do everything they can to make you happy. They have a beautiful garden area and they have activities.” Peggy and Duane are also thankful for the Alzheimer’s Association Midlands Chapter, who helped Duane greatly while Peggy was sick. He took several classes there, including one for caregivers and one about the financial aspects of putting a loved one in a home. “There’s not much that anyone can do to help me help her except to help me understand that what I’m going through – I’m not the only one who is going through it,” he said. “They recommended I take care of myself first of all, otherwise I couldn’t take care of her. That meant, finally, to put her over in the Memory Unit so I could exist.” COUPLE/See Page 4F
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4F Sunday, October 27, 2013
Living with Alzheimer’s
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Couple fights wife’s dementia together COUPLE/From Page 3F
Despite her dementia diagnosis, Peggy King, right, is still able to play the piano she has in the home she shares with her husband, Duane, left.
“And to not feel guilty about it,” Peggy added. Towards the end of October 2010, things somehow started to turn around. People began noticing that Peggy was acting more like her old self. Soon, Peggy was getting signed out to go with Duane for a large part of the day. In November, Duane was able to take her on a vacation to Branson, Mo., because she was doing so well. During Christmas of that year, Peggy stayed with Duane at their home in Risen Son Christian Village. She even cooked meals and helped plan things for them to do. New Year’s was the same. In January 2011, the couple made another visit to their doctor, where Peggy was given a memory test. Their doctor didn’t understand how she was getting better, rather than worse. “People doubted I had FTD because I came out of it. They might say I was misdiagnosed but three doctors – a psychiatric, a general practitioner and geriatric – con-
firmed I had a classic case of FTD,” she said. “I had an MRI done and it showed my brain being damaged with holes – the frontal lobe had shrunk.” “I asked one of the doctors if this was unusual and she said, ‘Unusual? It’s unheard of,” Duane said. “Another doctor said, ‘It’s a miracle.’ And another doctor, I asked him, ‘What’s the prognosis?’ And he said, ‘I have no idea, nothing like this has ever happened before.’” In late January, she was moved out of the Memory Unit and into the couple’s home in the village. The day she moved back home was an unforgettable one for Peggy. “I couldn’t believe it,” Peggy said, laughing. “To think you’re going to die because of this terrible disease and then to be told it’s gone is like a second chance. It’s a new lease on life. My life was given back to me.” Several months later, Peggy underwent another MRI scan of her brain. Interestingly enough, the scan showed her brain looked the exact same – but doctors told her to not worry. It didn’t mean she would get
sick again any time soon. “I try not to dwell on it. My geriatric doctor told me to never worry about it because she said just because I’ve had it once doesn’t mean I’ll have it again,” she said. Today, Peggy can once again do things she loves – like playing piano. She even drives. But she wonders, what if she hadn’t gotten better? “There’s millions of people who are not getting better,” she said. “I think it would’ve been not what we wanted but it would’ve been OK. In some way, it would’ve been OK. God cares for each individual person – he knows every hair on their head. He would’ve made it OK for us.” And that’s why she’s so adamant about sharing her story – to help others who are facing what she faced. “I want people to be helped through my story and to know where to find help,” she said. “I came out a different woman. I learned so much through that whole ordeal. I have more compassion and I have a deep feeling that I want to help people going through this if I can.”
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Living with Alzheimer’s
Sundowning – it’s for real A condition called sundowning is a very real problem for caregivers who need their rest at night, but are dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease who becomes more anxious and confused as the day wears on. When it starts to get dark, persons with sundowning want to get up and go. They become confused and restless and their pacing may increase noticeably. They may well be awake and active into the night. Typically, they will wander, try to leave the home, rummage or move articles around the house, or persist in turning on lights throughout the house. The cause of sundowning is unknown. In the past it was thought that sundowning was caused by the lowering of light and shorter days. Recent studies, however, indicate that other factors may come into play. There is evidence that Alzheimer’s disease damages or disrupts the parts of the brain that control the circadian rhythms, the body clock and the sleep-wake cycle. Other causes may be that darkness brings about disorientation or a fear of danger that keeps the person awake. Darkness may also create sensory changes such as shadows or obscured objects inside and outside the window. When Mom experienced sundowning, we learned to pull the shades and turn on the lights before the sun went down. That way, the waving branches tapping the windows or the scary shadows in the corners were not there to frighten her. Keep in mind that your family member does not have control over his/ her behavior. The annoying behavior is the inability of the brain to sort out confusion in the environment. The person with dementia cannot tell you why they are acting as they are because they don’t know. Following are some tips that may help in dealing with sundowning: Make sure the person with Alzheimer’s is well rested It is thought that fatigue may play a part. Have the loved one take a nap or an hour of quiet time before their normal period of sundowning. Limit activities to the morning hours Plan trips to the supermarket, or visits with family members, to occur early in the day. Activities in the evening may be too stimulating for the individual with dementia. Simplify the environment Create a comforting environment by playing
familiar or restful music. Keep the environment as calm as possible by minimizing loud conversations or TV. Over stimulation can not only result in sundowning but in other behavior issues as well. Learn to identify physical discomfort All behavior issues are unmet needs. Be sure their physical needs are being met. Being hungry or too hot or cold can play a part in sundowning. Get the doctor involved. The loved one should be examined by a physician to ensure there are no other ailments present. Arthritis, urinary tract infection, flu/ colds and asthma can contribute to sundowning. Pain may become more prevalent late in the day, and they cannot always communicate that pain. You may need extra help with prescription medicine, but medication should be considered only as a last resort. You are the detective – Be observant to possible causes. Observe the behavior for several days in a row to spot any triggers that may be causing sundowning. A trigger to agitation could be something as simple as a certain noise produced by a video game or television or the commotion of family members coming home from work or school. Provide private time-out space for the loved one. There needs to be a safe, calm, private area for the person with AD when the activities of the household become too much to bear. Clear the house. During really aggressive sundowning episodes, it’s a good idea to send family members out of the house on an outing. Never restrain any dementia individual unless absolutely necessary. Turn off the TV and radios and unneeded lights. After assuring house safety, caregiver should move away to a quiet spot as well. Take care of yourself Above all, caregiver, take care of yourself. Try to use in-home respite, either other family members or paid caregiver, to assure that you get sufficient sleep. Yes, sundowning is real, and you must have enough sleep to allow you to function with the added responsibilities of caring for an individual with a dementia disorder. For more information on sundowning and other conditions related to Alzheimer’s and other dementia disorders, visit our website alz. org/midlnds or call Rosalie Shepherd at the Alzheimer’s Association, (712) 322-8840 or 1 (800) 272-3900.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
‘You have to handle your own grief about
it, handle your own grief about what’s happening, you’ll have that patience and passion needed. There is a time when the grief, you remember the person she used to be, the person she was, is hard. But realize that they can’t help what’s happening to them.’ – Judy Kilnoski
Kilnoski takes care of her mom Mike Brownlee
Judy Kilnoski is there for her mother, whatever the need. “Taking care of her business: making doctors appointments, making sure she gets there, I get her supplies ready. She is able to feed and dress herself but can’t get into a bathtub so I help where needed with personal Davey hygiene,” she said. “I see to her needs, make sure she has everything she wants within my power to help make sure her health is being taken care of. “I listen to her when she’s upset, which happens often because she forgets.” Doctors diagnosed her mother, Benne Sue Davey, with Alzheimer’s disease in November of 2010. “That was difficult,” Kilnoski said, before repeating herself: “That was difficult.” Kilnoski, the oldest of nine sisters, has taken the lead in caring for the family’s matriarch. She stops by to visit Davey, who resides at an assisted-living facility, most days to take care of mom. “For me, I’ve learned that a person needs an abundance of patience as a caregiver. You can’t have too much patience with your family member,” she said. “You have to remind yourself – they can’t help it. It’s happening to them and they don’t
realize it.” Kilnoski said that at this point in her mother’s life she doesn’t realize she has Alzheimer’s, doesn’t think about it, but simply lives. Early on, though, Davey knew what was going on when doctors broke the news. “That was tough to handle,” Kilnoski said. At first Judy and her sisters didn’t accept the diagnosis, going into denial. “‘No, she doesn’t have it,’ we thought,” Kilnoski said. “But after a while you recognize the signs and symptoms and realize, ‘yeah.’” The family saw Davey handle her emotions poorly, reacting with anger to any alteration of her routine. “She doesn’t adapt well,” Kilnoski said. “And that’s not like her. That’s not her. As a family we saw those changes.” Davey takes a variety of medications for the disease, which seems to have slowed the progression, but “the disease is still there,” Kilnoski said. As she works with her mother, helping her make it through each day, Kilnoski said she’s learned a lot about taking care of an Alzheimer’s patient. “You have to handle your own grief about it, handle your own grief about what’s happening, you’ll have that patience and passion needed,” she said. “There is a time when the grief, you remember the person she used to be, the person she was, is hard. But realize that they can’t help what’s happening to them. “Patience leads to compassion.”
Living with Alzheimer’s
From left, Chantal Franklin, Albert Franklin, Helen Franklin and Kaylene Hatcher at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. The family took Albert, a huge NASCAR fan battling Alzheimer’s disease, there on a vacation to help keep his mind stimulated as he battles the disease.
Mind over matter to battle a father’s Alzheimer’s disease John Schreier
Albert Franklin loves NASCAR. Most times, a trip to Charlotte, N.C., to see a race and take part in the stock-car racing experience would be an event a person would never forget. But the Council Bluffs resident is battling Alzheimer’s. The disease is slowly eroding his memory, and it’s already robbed him of the ability to drive a car of his own. However, his family – Helen Franklin, his wife of 40 years, and daughters Chantal Franklin and Kaylene Hatcher – are fighting back for Albert. They’re using everything from games of cards to kickboxing to keep his mind sharp to slow the effect of the disease. “We work together as a family; we take trips together,” said Chantal, an Abraham Lincoln graduate who now lives in Omaha. “My parents are in their late 60s and early 70s, so we try to make them stay as active as possible.” Albert was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in January 2012. His doctor said that while the disease was in the earliest of four stages, he was progressing toward the middle stages. To his family, the diagnosis explained Albert’s actions. He’d been forgetting why he’d walked in a room and stumbling over words – “drought,”
‘It’s very important to exercise your mind – reading books, doing puzzles – that’s good for everyone. But it’s something my dad’s physicians have stressed.’ – Chantal Franklin
for instance, would become “drougth.” The normally sociable Albert would cling to his immediate family at family reunions, remembering only a couple other people in the room. Immediately after the diagnosis, the Franklin family began seeking information on the disease. That search led them to Alzheimer’s Association in Council Bluffs, where they started attending free support and information sessions. The information learned and bonds built at the meetings have been vital, Chantal said. “That’s where we learned everything we know,” she said. “It’s almost become our second family.” Helen has become Albert’s primary caregiver, and she’s kept him in a routine, at the advice of doctors and other caregivers. Her daughters step in to take care of their father for a couple hours most days, easing the stress and possible health decline that comes with being a full-time caregiver.
Albert remains active – walking the dog, playing cards and participating in church gatherings – despite the inevitable slow decline of his memory and mental acuity. Chantal, owner of the ilovekickboxing.com gym at 168th and Blondo streets in Omaha, has even taken her father into the gym. She channeled boxing experience from his teenage years, giving him patterns of lefthanded jabs and right-handed crosses to keep him sharp. “I’ve put my dad on the bag,” Chantal said, “and you could tell his wheels were spinning as he tried to focus.” Though Chantal said her father’s memory is fading, the mental exercises – and unforgettable trips – are good mechanisms to keep him sharp and slow the decline of Alzheimer’s. “It’s very important to exercise your mind – reading books, doing puzzles – that’s good for everyone,” she said. “But it’s something my dad’s physicians have stressed.”
10 Warning Signs
6F Sunday, October 27, 2013
The Daily Nonpareil
Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
Your memory often changes as you grow older. But memory loss that disrupts daily life is not a typical part of aging. It may be a symptom of dementia. Dementia is a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s (AHLZhigh-merz) disease, a fatal disorder that results in the loss of brain cells and function. This list can help you recognize the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease (AD):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Memory changes that disrupt daily life Challenges in planning or solving problems Difficulty completing familiar tasks Confusion with time or place Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships New problems with words in speaking or writing Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps Decreased or poor judgment Withdrawal from work or social activities Changes in mood and personality
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Living with Alzheimer’s
Make brain-healthy life choices Ways to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias CLAYTON FREEMAN When people think about staying fit, they generally think from the neck down. But the health of your brain plays a critical role in almost everything you do: thinking, feeling, remembering, working, playing – and even sleeping. The good news is that emerging evidence suggests there are steps you can take to help keep your brain healthier as you age. These steps might also reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Like other parts of your body, your brain may lose some agility as you get older. It can deteriorate even more if you don’t take care of it. Science is unlocking many of the mysteries of the brain, but we don’t have all the answers yet. You can do everything “right” and still not prevent Alzheimer’s disease. What’s offered here is the best and most up-to-date information available so you can make your own decisions about your health. Stay physically active Physical exercise is essential for maintaining good blood
flow to the brain as well as to encourage new brain cells. It also can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes, and thereby protect against those risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Adopt a brain-healthy diet Research suggests that high cholesterol may contribute to stroke and brain cell damage. A low fat, low cholesterol diet is advisable. And there is growing evidence that a diet rich in dark vegetables and fruits, which contain antioxidants, may help protect brain cells. Remain socially active Social activity not only makes physical and mental activity more enjoyable, it can reduce stress levels, which helps maintain healthy connections among brain cells. Stay mentally active Mentally stimulating activities strengthen brain cells and the connections between them, and may even create new nerve cells. While you can control your lifestyle, there are risk factors you cannot control. Well
established risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are genetics and aging. It is not known what causes Alzheimer’s disease or what role genetics play in most cases, though having parents or siblings with the disease increases your risk. A small percentage of cases are known to be caused by inherited mutated genes. In other cases, variants of specific genes increase risk, but even people who inherit such variants from both parents still may not get the disease. These risk factors that you cannot change will set a starting point for you, but there is hope that adopting healthy brain life habits might delay or prevent the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease. Protecting brain health and preventing cognitive decline are an important focus of the worldwide Alzheimer’s disease research effort. Please visit our website alz. org/midlands or call our 24/7 Help-Line at (800) 272-3900 about adopting a brain health lifestyle.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
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– Clayton Freeman is the program director for the Alzheimer’s Association Midlands Chapter.
Activities for people with dementia People with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from participation in activities in several ways. Their lives can be enriched because activities may help to increase their feelings of usefulness and self-worth. Activities can also help reconnect the person with AD to daily life, as well. Playing games, going on outings, hobbies and exercising can help them feel more vital. Activities can enhance general health and communication skills; decrease pacing and restlessness; and increase nighttime sleep. Activities also benefit the caregiver who can have an enjoyable time with their loved one. It would be helpful if caregivers would create an activity kit or box that can be used to keep the person active. Activities like these can be useful when distracting them from a difficult behavior. Below are a few suggestions of activities which you can adapt according to the interests and the level of ability of the persons in your care. Suggestions for Activity kit/box: Things to fold Large puzzles Greeting cards Pictures of birds/other animals Activity aprons Playing cards to sort
Nature videos, soothing music Story telling tips Crayons, large or small Large sections of plastic pipe Block of wood and sandpaper Ball of yarn to wrap Large beads to string Very simple craft ideas Jar of buttons to sort Art books Bingo/other games Ball/bean bag/ stress ball Pinecones/seeds to make bird feeders Tambourine or shaker for music makers Dominoes Each of the activities listed above are appropriate for people at every stage of AD keeping in mind the importance of safety. It is important to adapt the activity to each person’s level of functioning by looking for what skills are left, and using those activities to give a sense of accomplishment to the individual. After all, it is in the doing that is important, not a perfect end product. For more information on caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease, contact our website alz.org/midlands or call 1 (800) 272-3900 or (712) 322-8840.
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Living with Alzheimer’s
The Daily Nonpareil
Preparing for the holidays Holidays are opportunities to share time with the people you love. Try to make these celebrations easy on yourself and the person with Alzheimer’s disease so that you may concentrate on enjoying your time together. Here are some suggestions: Adjust your expectations Make a phone call or face-to-face meeting with family and friends to discuss holiday celebrations. Make sure they understand your caregiving situation and what you can and cannot do. You can’t be expected to maintain every holiday tradition or event. Give yourself permission to downsize holiday parties or ask others to host the holiday at their home. Consider celebrating over a lunch or brunch, rather than an evening meal. People with Alzheimer’s disease can have evening confusion called “sundowning” that would cause agitation. Write a letter or e-mail to others informing them of your situation. Involve the person with dementia in holiday activities Ways to involve the person in safe,
manageable holiday activities might be to help prepare the food, wrap packages, hand you decorations or set the table. Avoid using candles, artificial fruits/ vegetables or other edibles as decorations. Maintain the person’s normal routine so that holiday preparations don’t become disruptive. Taking on too many tasks can wear on you and the person. Build on past traditions and memories. Your family member may find comfort in singing old holiday songs, or viewing seasonal videos. Gift ideas for the person with dementia Choose the best type of gift for your loved one based on his or her interests and abilities. In the early stages, a person may appreciate tickets to a show or musical, or familiar games like dominoes or bingo. Encourage people to buy useful
gifts such as You may have to adapt your gift giving when a person is in the mid to later stages of the disease. Encourage people to buy useful gifts such as: • Comfortable, easy-to-remove clothing • Electric coffee or tea pots that turn off after a short period of time. • Large desk calendars to
mount on the wall • Medication holders with timer to indicate it is time to take medication • Photo albums with names and dates next to each picture • Gift certificates for hair cuts and manicures • Punch balloon for chair volleyball • Older music • Soft pillows, afghans or stuffed animals • Taxi charge account • Bird feeders • Tapes of bird songs or clock with bird sounds • Talking clock • Gift certificates to adult day services • Gift certificates to restaurants • Hugs, Hugs, Hugs • Short visit (but often) 20 minutes is long enough For more information, please visit our website at alz.org/midlands or call the Midlands Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association at 1 (800) 272-3900 or (712) 3228840.
Proud to be part of this community
Bethany heights 11 Elliott St. 712-328-8228 Alzheimer’s Support Group Meetings offered at 6:30 pm the last Tuesday of each month at Bethany Lutheran Home. Open to public. Call 712-328-9500 for details.
Bethany Lutheran home 7 Elliott St. 712-328-9500