Dementia and Alzheimers Nursing: New Hints and Tips

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While researching, we came across a twitter feed from Future Age Care of hints and tips for caring for those with Alzheimers and Dementia.

Elderly people in aged care homes can still enjoy life despite dementia (there’s some tips for the carer as well!)

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Some tips we thought were fantastic are:

“Outdoor trips and experiences can still be enjoyed and be fulfilling for both carers and the person with dementia. It creates new memories for today!”

“Outings with residents included taking photos of what we saw and talked about, then using next week to relive and enjoy the experience again.”

“Outing with a lady with dementia today included using sensory items to help orientation and stimulation, for example – flowers, a shell, lunch.”

“Utilising colours within therapeutic activities for clients especially during darker, gloomy days when they cannot access outdoors.”

From a personal perspective, whenever I visit my grandma with Alzheimers I make sure to leave a token behind (a photo of myself, or a note scribbled on a brochure from a cafe we visited or museum we went too) – for two reasons, to jog my grandma’s memory so she can reminisce about the visit, and for other family members to see – so they know I have stopped by.

(My grandma has been known to tell the family that she hasn’t seen me in years, or the opposite that she sees me every day, by leaving a token at least family members know when her recollections are ‘accurate’)

Do you work as a nurse in Aged Care? Or do you have family members with Dementia or Alzheimers? What tips do you have to share with us?

Image credit: Rosie O’Beirne

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7 COMMENTS

  1. You cannot under estimate MUSIC. Especially for non verbal advanced dementia clients, I will know the music they like and sing or hum a little song during cares. I tell you what, there IS response when it seems not much else is getting through. We need to talk to our Aged Care people with dignity and as if they are understanding every last word of conversation or of a song. Full stop.
    ANIMALS too are blessing too. So many older people once had a beloved animal and to get the chance to pet one or see one running about is bliss. There is joy. There is reaction and it is worth doing.

    • As an activities provider in an ACF, I found animals to be so evocative in the residents. A patient that was almost 100 had neither spoken nor been interactive for some time; I took my kitten to see her in and placed it across her lap and proceeded to feed him tidbits to keep him there. She commenced petting the kitten and talking too him in a soothing manner: “poor kitty, you’re hungry. You want your dinner, don’t you kitty?”
      We were amazed at this reaction: the kitten became a regular visitor to her. She never spoke a word to anyone else, just the kitten.
      Another patient loved the times when he could sit on the veranda with my dog at his feet: he would reminisce of times on the farm.
      And music and songs can never be under-rated: they were the good old days indeed!

  2. There’s nothing like those old WW II Vera Lyn hits of tha 40s…..

    ” Kiss me good night sergeant major… sergeant major, be a motherrr to meeeee ! “.

    Pink Flyod ( The Wall, 1983 ) did a twist on the Vera Lyn theme:

    ” Does anybody hereee rememberrr Vera Lyn ? Remember, how she said, that, we will meeeet again….. some, sunny day “.

  3. Irene there’s a great youtube video I found, it’s filmed from the perspective of a dementia patient – all about being treated with respect. It’s fantastic and I’ll upload it in the next few days.
    Music and animals – some very good tips.
    What other tips do those of you working in aged care have for us?

  4. I think I mentioned this elesewhere on the NU site…

    Leaving some light in the room at night.

    Be it a ‘ night light ‘, or the bathroom ensuite door slightly ajar, or even the TV on a ‘ blank ‘ screen – but emitting light….

    These types of light in the room provide just enough light for the elderly resdident to see what they are doing, and not be in total darkness.

    I think a totally dark room sets people up for a fall.

    They fumble around for their slippers, whilst bent over, and then fall off the side of the bed.

    They walk unaided, whilst looking for their mobility frame – then fall whilst reaching out for their frame.

    amd of course, they often can’t find their call bell ( in the total darkness !! )

    So, think of leaving some light in the room at vnight. Falls are the single greatest killer of our elderly residents in long term care facilities. After a serious fall, their life can be shortened to just a few weeks or months – as a direct result of the PREVENTABLE serious injury sustained.

  5. Yes I too remember taking my Dad out for ‘sight-seeing’ trips. Past the old family home; or his builders yard he had for 56 years. He told ‘yarns’ about such places.

    At the shops I let him pay(our funds that is) from ‘willy’ his nickname for his wallet. If ever it was not there he would remind us. So outings were good for all of us.
    One thing to remember is not not shout in a group and talk at a lower level and ratee of delivery of speaking.

    Most of the aged we do care for never spoke as fast as some of us do..so I suggest..modulate your voice please..it sure helps! AND remember they DO hear all that is spoken so never think you cqan pass a comment that is not taken in.

    From a clinical aspect audio is the last known area to cease functioning…ok :>) lol to be enjoyed still.

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