We all know having a wealth of appropriate resources available to us when looking for caregiving answers is critically important. The more options you have available to you, the better you can make caregiving decisions for your loved one.
Through our KalendarKards Memory Support System, Memory Joggers, and Memory Cafe Directory, we’re very proud to be one key source of support. However, we wanted to share even more, and today we’re focusing on resources to assist Memory Cafes.
Here at KalendarKards, we often say we provide “comfort and confidence” through the use of our System. Who better with whom to work on this resource-sharing effort than someone who strives to move us from “crisis to comfort?”
We found the perfect partner!
We reached out to Lori LaBey of Alzheimer’s Speaks to see if she would share her favorite resources specific to Memory Cafes. As you’ll see below, many can also be used successfully outside the Memory Cafe environment. There’s a little something for everyone!
Lori is an internationally-recognized advocate, working hard to shift dementia care culture from “crisis to comfort” through improving the care delivery systems. She has been recognized by Maria Shriver as an Architect of Change, and by Dr. Oz and Sharecare as the #1 Influencer Online for Alzheimer’s Disease. She’s even been called the “Oprah of Alzheimer’s.” Lori acquired her passion for those living with dementia by caring for her mother, who lived with demential for over 30 years.
Using her Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio show and her Dementia Chats™ webinar series, Lori connects people to best practices and facilitates conversations regarding needs for dementia care worldwide. You may have heard her mention Memory Cafe Directory on her show – after all, she’s a trusted advisor!
Lori’s accomplishments and the depth of resources she offers goes on and on (just like this article is doing!) Now let’s get to her suggestions!
When we asked Lori for her help, she jumped at the chance to share and then (as always) over delivered! We weren’t surprised on either one. Since her resources and suggestions cast a wide net, they are shown below grouped into categories.
THANK YOU, LORI!
Lori La Bey’s Memory Cafe Resources
Let’s start with the basics. Lori’s first suggestion is her primer entitled “Helpful Tips for Dealing with Dementia.” This is a wonderful collection of valuable tips to orient our thinking, especially important if we are new to dememtia challenges.
It starts with her sentinel message to assess every interaction with the person living with dementia by asking the question, “Are they safe, happy and pain free?” If you have listened to her podcasts, that will sound very familiar.
Another tip in Lori La Bey’s “Helpful Tips for Dealing with Dementia” is the important reminder of “Don’t take things personally.” Remember, it’s the disease talking, not the person. There are of course many more, and Lori suggests printing the tri-fold brochure as a reference. It’s designed in a front/back format, so if you can print it two-sided, it makes a perfect reference guide.
Whether you’re facilitating a Memory Cafe, attending a Cafe with someone living with dementia, or simply doing your best to provide appropriate, loving support, this guide should be helpful to you.
We are excited to help Lori share this news. When visiting Memory Cafe Directory, you may have seen this image rotating through the Valuable Resources section on the right sidebar. (Every page EXCEPT the home page.) Yes, Lori La Bey will be conducting the Ultimate Memory Cafe: a dementia-friendly CRUISE!
This is a cruise for those with early to mid-stage dementia and their families. Lori told me they already have several Memory Cafe members coming from various parts of the country and she would love you to join in the fun!
Visit Alzheimer’s Speaks to learn more, but hurry – rooms are going fast! Enjoy this short video Lori created to share even more details:
If you are looking for a “land-based” Memory Cafe near you, please visit Memory Cafe Directory, the resource KalendarKards created and maintains, to share the locations of Memory Cafes across the country.
Travel Preparation Assistance
When traveling with someone living with dementia, whether it’s on Lori’s Dementia-Friendly cruise, around your state or around the world, it takes some effort to prepare fully. It seems that no matter how diligent we are in making sure we’ve tended to everything, SOMETHING invariably goes awry, or is simply missing.
Here, Lori shares a very comprehensive planning guide published by the Roseville, Minnesota Alzheimer’s and Dementia Community Action Team. Called “Tips for Dementia Travel – Local and Extended” it reminds us all of the many important (and often tiny!) details needed for safe and enjoyable travel.
The bonus? While this is an excellent planning tool for traveling with someone living with dementia, it can be a helpful resource for regular travel as well. There are a few references specific to the Roseville area, near Lori, but the vast majority of what they suggest works well for all of us!
Emergency Contact and Identify Cards
No, I didn’t misspell “Identity” above. “Identify” is exactly what I meant to type. Another way to support someone living with dementia is helping them get the help they need when the caregiver is not immediately at hand (in an emergency or not and when traveling, or not.)
Lori suggests printing these Emergency Contact cards (see links below) to help them “identify” as having dementia and how the person involved can help directly or if appropriate, contact the Care Partner. The reverse side has their care partner contact information.
Identifying as a Care Partner is important, too. “Running Interference” is an effective way to help the person with dementia get the patience and understanding needed to operate in a comfortable and enjoyable manner.
The reverse side of the care partner card provides a place to share important contact information in the event the care partner becomes incapacitated. This is a thoughtful “backup for the backup!”
As another project of the Roseville (Minnesota) Alzheimer’s & Dementia Community Action Team, these “Identify” cards allow the person living with dementia – and their caregivers – to be prepared. They are valuable tools that can be used by anyone – in any location.
These appear to be valuable NOT just in an emergency. A person living with dementia can get confused or a bit overwhelmed during the short time a caregiver might not be at their side. For example, if they are at the store or elsewhere, the person living with dementia can simply hand the clerk the card and likely get all support and patience needed until the caregiver returns.
These are each 2-page PDFs. By printing front/back, they line up nicely on business card stock (available from Amazon) allowing you to separate them at the perforation and have convenient and valuable contact tools.
For more information about the great work being done by the Roseville Alzheimer’s & Dementia Community Action Team, visit their web site.
Memory Cafes are wonderful opportunities to experience a wide array of interesting, and dementia-friendly activities. They can range from arts and crafts, to music, to yoga, and much, much more. You can find a Memory Cafe near you, share your local Cafe, or simply learn more about them at the Memory Cafe Directory.
Lori La Bey is a staunch advocate for the value Memory Cafes hold for individuals living with dementia and their caregivers. Here, she shares some great activity suggestions with us that can be applied in almost any Memory Cafe setting.
Art Activity Kits
Art Time is the creator of ARTKIT™ – Activities for People with Memory Loss. Art Time’s principal is Lola Fraknoi, who has more than 25 years of experience in the aging field. She’s been a program director, a community services manager, and is trained as a professional artist.
ARTKIT™ is a series of two and three dimensional activities, designed to bring out creativity in people with memory loss. Neurological research tells us the areas of creativity in the brain remain intact long after other parts start to fail.
You can learn more about ARTKIT™ and order online directly from their web site.
Music Therapy Tips
We all know music is a powerful sensory experience. In just a few notes, we are often sent back in time to a specific place in our lives. Lori shares a wonderful program called Music for Wellness, created by Becky Watson. (By the way, for me, The Guess Who’s “Undun” takes me back to a grade school dance. You guessed it: boys on one side of the room; girls on the other!)
Becky is a Board Certified Music Therapist and is the founder of Music for Wellness. She calls her program “Enriching the Mind, Body and Spirit with MUSIC!” You can download an excellent primer from Lori’s Alzheimer’s Speaks website for getting your own Memory Cafe music activity started.
Just as music can exercise the brain, yoga is a wonderfully, low-impact way for those living with dementia to get safe physical activity. SunLight Chair Yoga is Lori’s pick for that much needed activity!
Stacie Dooreck is the founder of SunLight Chair Yoga. She is an author, and a yoga instructor, certified in a number of yoga disciplines. Stacie discovered and used chair yoga while healing from an illness and continues to share with others the benefits chair yoga delivers.
Stacie is also a Certified Fall Prevention Trainer for seniors and trained as an Enhanced Fitness Instructor (evidence based chair exercises and fitness for seniors including cardio, strength training and stretching.)
Memory Minder Kits
While this suggestion is based on availability at the Ramsey County Libraries in Shoreview, Minnesota, you could pursue getting them placed in your local library. Memory Minder Kits include a variety of materials ranging from an illustrated book for those with memory loss, music CDs, and an interactive activity like a puzzle, bingo, games and conversation cards.
Each one is different, but each on provides a wonderful experience for those living with dementia.
A key component of the Memory Minder Kits is the book, A Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia. It explores the use of activities and other techniques to prevent, reduce and otherwise manage the behavioral symptoms of dementia.
Sections cover daily activities, effective communication with patients, especially difficult behaviors, strategies to deal with agitation, repetitive questions, acting out, wandering, restlessness, hoarding, resistance to care, incontinence, destructiveness, sexually and socially inappropriate acts, aggressions, depression, sleep disturbances and home safety.
It is available from Amazon.
Here at KalendarKards, we would be remiss if we didn’t take this opportunity to remind everyone about the free activity we offer called Memory Joggers.
Memory Joggers is a collection of familiar sayings we’ve known for years. They are formatted with the very last word in the sentence set off at the end. It allows a facilitator to read the sentence or phrase aloud and stop at the last word. The group (or an individual) is charged with coming up with that word.
Memory Joggers is a great way to foster engagement in a Memory Cafe setting, in an assisted living environment, or simply with your love one at home. Check them out… they’re free!
Thankfully, there is a growing trend of businesses becoming more dementia-friendly. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is a sound business strategy. Those making the effort to do it right are tapping a previously unserved segment of their customer population.
Dementia Ready Signage and Business Cards
Dementia Ready LLC is an organization that provides solutions specifically designed for small businesses and organizations looking to provide a more welcoming environment for people with dementia.
These solutions include helpful signage and specialized, online training. They offer valuable resources for small businesses and govermental agencies to raise awareness and make their business community more dementia friendly.
Thank You, Lori!
It is quite obvious, Lori La Bey is a wonderful resource. These are great suggestions for those with a Memory Cafe focus, but they are just scratching the surface of her expertise. Her passionate, caring attitude gives voice to those living with dementia. We can’t thank her enough for her work – and of course for her collaboration with us.
You can stay up to date on all the wonderful things Lori is doing through her website at Alzheimer’s Speaks.
Find, Follow, Interact. You will be better for it!