DIMENSIONS Spring 1997


Note: Each issue of Dimensions features a contribution from one of the Alzheimer's groups in Washington. This article is reprinted with permission from the newsletter of the Alzheimer Society of Washington (ASW) . It was written by Madaleine Lippert, RN, MSN, a member of the ASW Board of Directors. Lippert was formerly a geriatric mental health specialist who led the Multidisciplinary Outreach Team at Whatcom Counseling and Psychiatric Clinic. ASW is an affiliate of the Alzheimer Alliance of America.

Keeping Busy is a hands-on book written by James Dowling, who is an activity specialist in an Alzheimer care center in Maine. This book could be, very useful for professional or family caregivers in maximizing the quality of life for the person with dementia.

In the first chapter, key ideas are presented for development of a basic program that provides meaningful and constructive activities. All aspects of activity planning are clearly defined. Included in the chapter are helpful do's and don'ts to be used when interacting with the individual with dementia.

The remaining 11 chapters suggest activities which are simple to do and require no complicated or costly supplies. Throughout each chapter ideas that have proven to be good and ideas that have proven to be bad are outlined. The value and appropriate use of all the activities are discussed in practical, understandable language. The topics of the chapters include use of exercise, music, art, television and videotapes, cooking, gardening, use of live animals and stuffed toy animals, and supporting the spirituality needs of the person.

In the appendix of the book, reality orientation and remotivation therapy are defined. The value and use of each approach is outlined as it pertains to working with the person with dementia. The appendix includes a sample daily activity schedule and a list of catalogs with specific activity materials. The appendix also includes a list of items that can be used, modified or made at home which will provide meaningful activities for the person with dementia. Additional reading resources are listed, too.

This is one of the best activity-focused books I have reviewed. To purchase this book, or for a copy of the complete ASW booklist, call 360671-3316 or fax 360-715-9940.

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