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Resources to create community, connection and conversation

With aged care organisations around the world making the difficult decision to close their doors to visitors and people in self-isolation in the community during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, the need for activities that support engagement and foster conversation and connection for people with dementia, along with the wellbeing of carers, has become even more imperative. AJDC has compiled this list of useful resources: 

Music playlists: guidelines for carers

Dr Sandra Garrido (pictured) and her team at the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University in NSW have developed best-practice guidelines, and an accompanying website, to help carers and aged care providers learn more about the effective use of music playlists for people with dementia and how to integrate music into care plans.

Music Playlists for People With Dementia: A Guide for Carers, Health Workers and Family has been developed in collaboration with caregivers and aged care providers and is available to staff in long-term residential facilities and home-based carers.

The guidelines outline strategies for identifying individuals who may be vulnerable to negative responses, offer tactics for the creation of playlists designed to address key challenges to care, and provide advice on program monitoring and the integration of music into care plans.

The guidelines are available on an accompanying website (https://musicfordementia.github.io/) which allows users to work through the suggested strategies online and links them to various options for downloading music, such as Spotify or iTunes.

Resource book for music activities

Living Well with Dementia Through Music: A Resource Book for Activities Providers and Care Staff (pictured) is a new book released by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. The 256-page book is made up of 15 chapters, written by a range of contributors, and introduced and edited by Catherine Richards, an experienced music therapist with people living with dementia. The book’s purpose is to encourage anyone whether or not they have any musical skills or experience – to use music in dementia care.

The book explores a wide range of ideas, including, for example, using music to bring couples together, the use of music to inspire dance and movement, the creative use of music and poetry, and the use of music in day-to-day care provision, including end-of-life care. It also addresses general considerations for using music with people living with dementia in institutional settings, including evaluating and recording outcomes. The book is available in Australia for $49.99 via Footprint Books; go to www.footprint.com.au/.

Strategies to support care teams

Dementia Care International (DCI) is offering teleconference seminars to help healthcare leaders support the social and emotional aspect of care during the COVID-19 crisis.

DCI President Hilary Lee said the new series of teleconferences/Skype seminars are designed to offer practical strategies for reducing stress, retaining empathy, keeping morale strong and supporting emotional health within care teams so they can better support their clients. She said the seminars complement existing COVID-19 medical protocols and can be adapted to participants’ specific situation.

For more information, contact DCI via email info@dementiacareinternational.com or phone +61 3 9727 2744. You can also visit the website www.dementiacareinternational.com

DCI was founded by Jane Verity in 1993 as an independent social enterprise to improve the social and emotional care of people with dementia through the Spark of Life Philosophy. This program includes skills to understand, connect and communicate with people with dementia.

New ADI site offers inspiration, guidance

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) has launched a new webpage on its site which is bringing together news, resources, stories, advice and support for anyone affected by dementia around the world during the COVID-19 crisis – including healthcare professionals. The web page is dedicated to resources relating to the pandemic and will be updated regularly. You’ll find it at https://www.alz.co.uk/news/adi-offers-advice-and-support-during-covid-19

ADI says older people, especially people living with dementia may become more anxious, angry, stressed, agitated and withdrawn during the outbreak and wants to provide information that could help alleviate some of these challenges by offering examples for inspiration, shared experience and guidance.

It suggests people start by watching the video from Professor Huali Wang, Executive Vice-President of ADI’s member association in China, Alzheimer’s Disease Chinese, which explains how China has addressed the specific challenges of people living with dementia during the outbreak and how this advice can be used in other countries. Watch the video here: https://www.alz.co.uk/news/covid-19-sharing-experience-and-advice-from-adis-member-association-in-china.

Other resources on the site include links to the latest advice on COVID-19 from the World Health Organisation; blogs; mental health and wellbeing advice; advice for carers and people with dementia.

ADI also invites people to share information on any other useful resources by emailing a.bliss@alz.co.uk

Online activity resources

With aged care organisations around the world making the difficult decision to close their doors to visitors during the COVID-19 crisis, the need for activities that support meaningful engagement and foster conversation and connection becomes even more imperative. In response, the National Activity Providers Association (NAPA) in the UK has now made its online activity resources freely available to everyone.

Be sure to check out the ‘Things to do’ series (pictured), and ‘Activity ideas from across the sector’ which has a huge list of suggestions for things to do whilst in isolation, including individual and group activities to help raise morale. New resources will be added regularly.

Visit: http://napa-activities.co.uk/membership/free-resources

Dementia Australia Help Sheets

Dementia Australia has released four Help Sheets outlining tips for people living with dementia, their families and friends, carers, and residential and home care providers on what they can do to achieve the best possible outcomes for people living with dementia during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Help Sheets are freely available now at https://www.dementia.org.au/ and include:

Zooming in for dementia support

The Zoomettes is a UK-wide virtual group for women living with dementia, who meet regularly via accessing Zoom, the web-based video conferencing tool.

The group has now put together A Guide To Setting Up A Virtual Peer Support Meeting Using Zoom, as well as a seven-minute film covering this same material. As well as covering basic technical information (such as how to get Zoom on your device), the guide also looks at issues related to facilitating a peer support group for people living with dementia (such as ground rules, communication and follow-up support, and managing difficult conversations). The text is clear and simple, and lots of good photos sit alongside the text throughout the resource.

To access both the guide and the film, go to www.dementiavoices.org.uk/group/zoomettes/.

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