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Lisa J 20th Oct 2014

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I am working with a wonderful lady who is in her mid fifties with Alzheimer's disease. She spent a good part of her life as an elementary education teacher, leaving her career with the onset of ALZ. She admits that she does not have a lot of interests because she spent most of the time caring for her family or teaching. She does not like arts and crafts, games or puzzles. I am trying to spike interest in cooking, walking outdoors, trivia and riddles and such. I can tell that she is used to many hours of watching television and I am trying to limit our time with that. Any suggestions on activities I can do with her? I would like it to tie in to her career as a teacher if possible. Thanks!
Solange 20th Oct 2014
Hi Lisa,
Your client may have been a hard worker and busy mother and hence television became the focus of her leisure.

The good news however is: once a teacher, always a teacher. You may take advantage of this fact and appeal to her to assist her peers (Older and less dexterous than her) making posters; cutting pictures, playing cards. She won't be 'doing' it; she will simply be helping someone in need.

It is also important that she now finds a hobby. Don't feel disheartened by the fact that she declines arts and crafts activities. She may change her mind sooner than you think.

Having been a teacher in the past, she might like to be involved with groups where she is able to assist, mentor and support other people.

Here are a few ideas to try:

- Social groups - Weekly groups with the sole purpose of socializing: Cafe Society (going out for coffee and a chat) High Tea - Friendship Club - Icing Cakes Club
- Wine & Cheese Book Club - If book reading is beyond participants make copies of short stories for participants to read and talk about it.
- TV Buffs Group - Small group (2 or three people) to discuss the latest episode of 'Law & Order SVU' or another TV show.
- Memoir Writing - Writing snippets they remember about school, relationships, cooking, friendships, music, and travels. If she no longer writes, someone else's could do it.
- Volunteer - Help peers by reading poems or passages of the Bible, assisting with craft, and helping with games. Help staff with themed parties by writing invitations, cutting pretty flowers from magazines, making and gluing flags, blowing balloons.
- Searching for a Hobby - Take client to 'visit' groups in action such as gardening, quizzes, sing-alongs, flower arranging, Xmas craft, Massage Therapy.
- Photography - A digital camera to take photos of peers, staff, family.
- Inter-generational Groups - Mentoring school children.
- Internet Surfing - Games, music, Sudoku, Astrology, Blogging, Listening to Podcast, You tube movies.

Good luck!
Bianca 24th Oct 2014
We have a similar lady and we have found that by asking her to check through the content of word games, quizes, puzzles and discusion topics before they are presented in a group session has increased her interest in assisiting the Lifestyle team and places her in a role that she is comfortable with. At times she may also attend the group sessions, not as a particpant but to ensure that her recomendations or comments were appropriate, she may also provide feedback at the end of the session.

Through this process her identified needs of self social exclusion, loss of interest in life experiences and her inability to initiate meaningful activities are being addressed through utilising her past experiences, habitual skills and re-enforcing a socialy valued role. Hope this helps.


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