Dementia Care

Why Seniors With Dementia Wander and What You Can Do About It

Why Seniors With Dementia Wander and What You Can Do About It

According to The Alzheimer’s Association, 6/10 people with Dementia will wander. Wandering is one of the least manageable and most emotionally draining behaviours that caregivers must address. You have a million tasks on your plate, and caring for an aging loved one is stressful enough without the worry that they will get lost when you look away. Even if a senior with dementia promises to you that they will not wander away, the sad reality is that they have no control over it. As the disease progresses, their memory and reasoning skills can be so affected that they become lost in familiar places and don’t think to ask for help.

Research has not been able to provide a definitive reason why people with dementia wander, and the main reasons could be related to the changes in their memory, but the tendency to wander is also linked to unmet needs and overstimulation.

Sundown Syndrome: What is "Sundowning" and How is it Managed?

Sundown Syndrome: What is "Sundowning" and How is it Managed?

You may have a loved one or know someone suffering from Alzheimer’s as there are 5.7 million Americans currently living with the disease. Alzheimer’s and other dementias have many unique challenges that can affect seniors in different ways such as sundowning. Sundowning is a symptom for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias that has multiple causes and displays differently for each individual. Sundowning can be alarming for the seniors who experience it, and for their families and caregivers who witness it happening.

This post will introduce you to a series of potential strategies you can use to decrease the magnitude of these challenges, offering suggestions to manage the symptoms of sundown syndrome to lessen the sense of apprehension that each day's sunset might be bringing you.

The Role of Caregiving Through the Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

The Role of Caregiving Through the Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

This post has been designed to prepare you for the realities of Alzheimer’s disease. There are many commonalities that are important to understand, even though everyone does experience the disease in their own way and pace. 

Music Therapy in Dementia Treatment

Music Therapy in Dementia Treatment

The various forms and types of dementia are terrible, debilitating conditions. Even worse, there is very little known about these conditions, so treatment and management options are, in many cases, very limited. Fortunately for dementia sufferers and their families, there is proof that music therapy can have a significant, positive impact on symptoms and quality of life.

5 Ways You Can Connect with Your Loved One with Dementia

5 Ways You Can Connect with Your Loved One with Dementia

As we are not equipped to automatically compensate for dementia, we can end up unconsciously sabotaging the relationship by having erroneous expectations of what communication should look like.  When it fails to meet our expectations, we get frustrated, hurt, and even angry at the other individual, who lacks the ability to understand what has gone wrong.  Yet connection with our loved ones is essential – for them and us

Dementia Care - The Montessori Way

Dementia Care

Dr. Cameron Camp is the director of research and development at the Center of Applied Research in Dementia.  Thinking creatively, Dr. Camp has taken a teaching method traditionally used on younger children and applied it to help people who suffer from dementia.  Dementia care - the Montessori way has been studied and applied successfully over the last decade.

The 3 primary methods to achieve these goals are

1. Making connections

The idea that people living with dementia still have much to contribute to their families, friends and community members is forefront in Dr. Camp’s R&D.  The goal is to apply or translate findings from other areas of psychology to work with these patients who receive dementia care.  Dr. Camp states that “the focus is working with the strengths that remain: finding the person behind the memory problems, engaging the individual and letting everyone involved have a feeling of success and accomplishment.”

2. Creating Memories

Dr. Camp created an intervention called “space retrieval” which teaches Alzheimer’s patients how to recall information over increasingly longer periods of time using objects to help them remember.

Dr. Camp affirms that “by creating these cognitive prostheses, deficits in memory and executive function can be circumvented and hence boost people’s sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.”

3. Development Psychology

To focus on human growth and changes in the development of:

  • Physical
  • Cognitive
  • Social
  • Intellectual
  • Perceptual
  • Personality
  • Emotional growth

Who is Dr. Maria Montessori?

Maria Montessori was a physician who lived between 1870-1952.  She had unique ideas that changed the way we think about children and learning.

Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy was to enable individuals to:

  • Be as independent as possible
  • To have a meaningful place in their community
  • To have high self-esteem
  • To have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to their community

Dr. Cameron Camp intertwined the Montessori philosophy and implemented as a philosophy of dementia care for individuals, in particular, seniors by:

  1. Placing an emphasis on the environment including activities designed for each individual’s level of ability, and;
  2. Placing emphasis on meaning and purpose which includes roles and routines

Below are Montessori based tasks

Use every day material

  • Provide structure and order
  • Immediate feedback
  • High probability of success
  • RepetitionTask breakdown
  • Task breakdown

Utilize Procedural Memory

  • Provide structure and order
  • Immediate feedback
  • High probability of success
  • Repetition

Below is a link to fantastic article on the Montessori Methods for Dementia (dementia care) used in a Toronto hospital

Below is a heartfelt testimonial regarding Montessori based activities for an Alzheimer's patient who is receiving dementia care:

I wanted to express my gratitude to everyone for the amazing work that you are all doing with my mother. Given her diagnosis and lack of motivation to engage in any kind of activity, my brother and I sadly watched our mother withdraw into a shadow of who she really was. Since participating in the Montessori Methods for Dementia she has regained her confidence, is showing interest in the world around her, and, in general, seems much happier. This is dementia care at its best!

We now feel confident that thanks to your efforts we have extended her time in independent living. Of course safety is our first concern, however, we are happy to provide our mother with the added stimulation and enjoyment that offers her a better quality of life.
— Ruth F. Toronto

To find out more about Mavencare's Dementia Care services give us a call at 1-800-856-2836. We provide free consultation.