“Using the iPad to Reach People with Dementia” – April 6, 2017, CT Chapter Alzheimer’s Education Conference

I’ll be presenting and demonstrating the approach I developed to use the iPad with my ipad-diane-arden-aug2015-03wife at the Alzheimer’s Education Conference on April 6th in Cromwell,  CT. It is an accredited course for healthcare professionals and open to family caregivers.

Description:

Ed Fitzgerald’s wife Diane was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD) in 2010. Using his technology experience, he developed an approach to using the iPad to keep her engaged and mentally stimulated, which is what he will talk about here today.

During this seminar, Ed will talk about how he uses the iPad with his wife and the process by which he created a customized set of activities that are of interest to his wife. He will offer advice on how to proceed if someone is interested in pursuing it with their loved one.

He also talks about getting other family members involved and the benefits to both the loved one and caregiver. While he uses an iPad, some of what he talks about applies to other tablet devices as well. You don’t have to be a techie to benefit from this seminar.

  • iPad Demonstration
  • Examples of activities using the iPad
  • Apps recommended for those with dementia, games, videos, audio, music, news, photos, etc.
  • The effect on behavior, agitation, feelings, communication, participation
  • How to get started, identifying interests, getting educated, finding the right apps
  • Guidance on how to use the iPad effectively and what doesn’t work
  • How it can be used in a group setting in an assisted living facility, nursing home or senior center.

Register at the Alzheimer’s Education web site.

Click here for more information about the conference.

Effective Communications Strategies to use with a Person who has Dementia

The Effective Communications Strategies program explores how communication takes place when someone has Alzheimer’s disease: learn to decode verbal and behavioral messages and identify strategies to help connect and communicate at each stage of disease. Join Shanon Jordan, South Western Regional Director of the CT Alzheimer’s Association, on March 29, 2017 from 12:00-1:00 pm at Brookdale Wilton, 96 Danbury Road, Wilton. Contact Christy Perone, 203.761.8999 to register.

Emergency Planning for FTD Caregivers

Along with the day-to-day caring responsibilities. finding the time to plan and be prepared to deal with a severe snow or ice storm, hurricane, tornado, flooding, power outage, fire, etc. is important.

This came to mind as I’m watching the weather report about us getting hit with a Nor-easter this evening.

I also think about it because I’m a member of Westport’s Community Emergency Response Team, community volunteers supporting emergency services, and in the past we have helped run shelters for residents who had to leave their homes.

r-uHere is a link to Are You Ready, prepared by the Westport Weston Health District. While some of it is specific to those towns, contact numbers for example, most is general preparedness information pertinent to anyone and it is nicely laid out and easily readable.

Another place for info is this link to an article on the National Caregivers Library site about things to consider.

Also a link to www.ready.gov, a Homeland Security web site.

 

AFTD – Informal FTD Caregiver Connections

Would you like to connect with another FTD caregiver? No support group in your area?

The AFTD has a program where they can match FTD caregivers who are in a similar situation.

After agreement by both parties, they share a name and a contact number or email, but no other personal information.  You take it from there.

To request a match or to register, contact the AFTD at info@theaftd.org or toll-free 866-507-7222 for details.

Caregiver Support from the CT Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource for information and support. The local office of the CT chapter was extremely helpful to me and my wife.

alz-careThey have a section on their web site that provides information by stages, early-stage caregiving, middle-stage caregiving, or late-stage caregiving, which is very helpful since each stage has its own unique aspects.

They have:

An online community: The ALZConnected® online community for everyone affected by dementia, Alzheimer’s or something else, like FTD.

An online tool, Alzheimer’s Navigator®: Designed to help guide you to answers by creating customized action plans and providing access to information, support and local resources.

Check it out at http://www.alz.org/care/overview.asp

 

Think Like an Occupational Therapist: The Importance of Individualized Activities in FTD Care

From the Partners in FTD Care Newsletter:

part-careDan is a middle-aged man from Ohio who has FTD. His symptoms have frustrated the efforts of his wife, Rita, to engage Dan in necessary self-care activities. Fortunately, occupational therapists are trained to overcome exactly these types of challenging behaviors.

This issue of Partners in FTD Care explains how Rita worked with a home-based OT — and, later, therapeutic recreation specialists — to develop an individualized plan based on Dan’s own unique behavioral patterns, needs and interests. This tailored approach has helped Dan to remain an active participant in his own life.

Strategies for the Holidays from Caregiver.com

“The holidays can be a time of renewal – renewal of friendships through visits and cards, cgrenewal of family relationships through gatherings and shared meals, and renewal of one’s faith. But the holidays also are a time that can be particularly challenging for a caregiver. It is a time during which the changes in one’s life are highlighted and there are additional demands placed upon on an already stressed life.” Read more …

The Holidays and Dementia talk in Fairfield – Dec 14th

I realize it is short notice, but I just became aware of this on the Daily Voice web site. big

“The Alzheimer’s Association is sponsoring The Holidays and Dementia talk at Bigelow Center for Senior Activities on Wednesday, Dec 14th at 10:30 a.m.

The focus will be on helping caregivers feel less anxious, frustrated and stressed. With some planning and adjusted expectations, celebrations can be happy, memorable occasions.

The Center is located at 100 Mona Terrace, Fairfield. Any CT resident over 55 is welcome to attend. The program is free of charge. Pre-registration is required by calling 203-256-3166.”

Holiday or Anytime Travel Safety Tips

Travel Tips from the Alzheimer’s Association

Travelling with someone with dementia requires planning to ensure safety, comfort and enjoyment for everyone. travel

Whether taking a short trip to see friends and family or traveling a far distance for vacation, it’s important to consider needs, abilities and preferences.

Here is a list of tips from the Alzheimer’s Association.

 

Three things I think are important to consider and be aware of:

TSA:

tsaWhen I traveled by plane with my wife, I made sure to check with a TSA supervisor before going through a checkpoint, telling them my wife had dementia and asking which line would be best to get on. I always found them to be very helpful. In one case a supervisor at JFK walked us to and assisted my wife through the checkpoint. As she did she told me she and her sister took care of their Aunt who had Alzhemier’s, so she understood.

Check out their tips for travelers with medical conditions web page, and call the TSA Cares support line number on that page, I did and found them to be understanding and helpful.

Bracelets:

photo_medicalertGet a MedicAlert Safe Return bracelet for both you and the person you are caring for. Once you sign up and provide the medical and contact information, emergency responders can call a 24/7 hotline number to access that information. I got one for myself because if something happened to me, there was no way my wife could communicate in any useful way.

“My companion has FTD” cards

cg-card-2If your loved on begins to behave in a strange or non compliant way toward anyone,  you can hand them the card. I was just told a story of someone travelling with her husband, he would not comply with the the flight attendant’s instructions. Worried the situation could get out of hand she handed the attendant the card and that helped to calm things down. A side benefit was the attendant showed her understanding and empathy by later bringing over a free drink. 🙂

Here is a link to the AFTD site where you can download a PDF and print out your own cards.