‘We can’ with new dementia book

Engaging and inspiring people with dementia to engage with activities that assist them to continue to lead lives full of purpose and pleasure is the goal of a new book launched by Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria yesterday (Monday, 7 May 2012).

“Life doesn’t stop with a dementia diagnosis, and many people with love and support around them can continue to enjoy life and the hobbies and interests that give them joy – and in some cases they can even learn new skills,” Dr David Sykes, Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria general manager of learning and development, said.

The book, titled ‘We can, we can, we can’ is filled with a variety of activities and ideas to help carers of people with dementia bring a creative approach to their everyday caring role.

“From simple arts and craft projects to reminiscing projects; fun ideas with food; gardening activities; some with a focus on the senses; incorporating music; pets; mental and physical games; traditional celebrations and traditions and even some specifically aimed at men; there are pages and pages of ideas to inspire and overall improve the quality of care and the lives of people living with dementia,” Dr Sykes said.

“These activities have been developed to encourage family and friends to be involved as well as being appropriate for those working in aged care and organising group activities.”

The book is a result of seven years of research and workshop consultation with hundreds of carers and aged care workers around Victoria.

“The research and positive feedback from the book development workshops have clearly demonstrated the successful introduction of new or familiar activities rewards the carer and the person with dementia”, Dr Sykes said.

The new resource also incorporates key Montessori principles which aim to enable carers to enhance the quality of life of those they care for through mental stimulation, communication and social engagement.

“This is an exciting initiative that seeks to inform and inspire those caring for people with dementia using new, creative and fun ways to improve the quality of life of both the carer and the person living with dementia.

“With an estimated 60% of all people in aged care homes living with dementia, our aged care workforce and health professionals need to be continually finding ways to contribute to the quality of care and life of the person living with dementia.”

Copies of the book can be ordered by calling the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.