Archive for January 2012

You are currently browsing the Come Back Early Today blog archives for January, 2012.

Book Successes to Share

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

I have a couple of book successes to share today. First of all, Come Back Early Today has been named a finalist in the Santa Fe Writer’s Project Literary Awards. The official awardees will be named next month, so please keep your fingers crossed! I never expected to win any literary award, but it looks as though people are starting to pay attention to the book.

The other bit of good news is that an article of mine, “Conducting” an Emotional Visit to My Beloved Romanian Soul Mate, was recently published on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room. (http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/2012/01/alzheimers-and-music-conducting.html.) The Alzheimer’s Reading Room is the number one source of news for the entire Alzheimer’s community.  It was the 5th one of my articles to be published there and it brought numerous visitors to this web site. Book marketing is hard work but I plan to keep it up and never stop!

 

Connecting with Alzheimer’s Patients in the Latest Stage of the Disease

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

The following four activities are virtually guaranteed to reach persons at all stages of Alzheimer’s: 1) Being visited by a child, 2) Being visited by a pet, 3) Listening to or performing music and 4) Observing or creating artwork.  

1. Being Visited by a Child 

It’s a well-known fact that children can reach demented people at a deep emotional level that adults often cannot. 

Children can play with people with Alzheimer’s. If you need some specific ideas check out the Alzheimer’s Association website, which has a list of 101 things a child can do with someone who has Alzheimer’s. (www.Alz.org 

2. Being Visited by a Pet 

Much like children, animals can often touch demented people more deeply than people can.  

For example. at a nursing home there was a late-stage Alzheimer’s patient whose face someone’s dog licked when he held him up for her to see. The visitor told her the dog didn’t usually “kiss” people he didn’t know, and she immediately answered, “Dogs are very selective.” That was the first lucid remark she’d made for months. 

3.  Listening to or Performing Music 

After listening to music some are clearly more calm, in a better mood and more outgoing than before, which improves the quality of life for both the patient and the caregiver. Music has even been found to help those with dementia retrieve some memories their caregivers had assumed were lost forever. 

Often times late stage Alzheimer’s patients can sing songs, including the lyrics, long after they’ve lost the ability to recognize loved ones, dress themselves, or remember what happened five minutes earlier.  

4.  Observing or Creating Artwork                     

 If your loved one is able to go out, a trip to an art museum could also be very beneficial. Just looking at art, much like listening to music, has been shown to calm dementia patients. 

In the late stage of the disease, Alzheimer’s patients can often still create striking art work that allows them to express themselves and connect with their loved ones – even when they can no longer speak.  

You can arrange various types of art projects for your loved one. Common activities include painting with water colors, coloring with crayons, making scrapbooks or molding objects out of clay. 

Resources: 

There is an online store, Best Alzheimer’s Products, that features games for those with Alzheimer’s. http://www.best-alzheimers-products.com/games-for-people-with-alzheimer’s.html.

For more specific ideas about how to use music to engage people who have dementia go to: http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/2011/11/music-and-alzheimers-disease-using.html.

 

“Silly Saturdays:” A Crafty Grandfather – Contributed by Emily Mosher

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

My Grandpa was always a kind and eccentric man. He was also sneaky and liked to make accomplices of his grandchildren. He used to drop a big scoop of chocolate ice cream in our breakfast cereal, wink and walk off without a word. If Grandma saw us eating chocolate ice cream Cheerios, we’d tell her we didn’t put it in our bowls, but wouldn’t say who did (although she surely knew who it must have been).

In his early 80’s after his heart surgery, Grandpa was put on a strict diet, which was hard because he loved chocolate. He used to smooth talk us grandchildren into slipping him sweets. In his late 80’s, Grandpa would occasionally become confused about where he was, thinking he was in a field when he was sitting in his easy chair. He sometimes became confused while driving and we worried he would get lost one day or have an accident. The whole family argued with him that he shouldn’t drive anymore, but he refused to stop driving.

My uncle tried removing engine parts from Grandpa’s car, but Grandpa would get replacement parts. Fortunately, the car was more than 20 years old and soon broke down on its own. His mechanic, who by now knew that Grandpa shouldn’t be driving, told him that they didn’t have the part he needed in the store, that he would have to get the part from the internet. Later that evening, Grandpa called my cousin, Karen. He said, “I’ve got a job for you.” in his sneakiest most conspiratorial voice. “I need you to drive me to the internet.”