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July 2015 issue of the Respite Reporter
Brookdale National Group Respite Program
RESPITE REPORTER
July 2015
Innovations and Traditions 
Enhancing the Lives of People with Dementia


Music, the arts, storytelling, and mindfulness all have roots in many traditional cultures. These time-honored traditions, experienced in a variety of forms are the basis for some of the most successful innovations in dementia care today.
 
This issue of the Respite Reporter highlights how familiar, comfortable, and accessible practices can positively affect caregivers and people with dementia alike. All of the featured articles share low or no cost ideas for professionals in the field of aging, as well as family caregivers and carepartners. Leading experts present tools to assist you with connecting and communicating with people at various stages of dementia. You will also find a helpful guide for people with early memory loss that you can share with clients and families. Finally, be sure to look for the additional resources and tools listed at the end of each of these five articles. 

 
Bay Bridge
The Practice of Mindfulness as a Caregiving Tool
 
When the stress of caring for a loved one with dementia mounts, the ability to cope can be seriously diminished. Communication with the loved one can become very difficult, along with all of the day-to-day tasks, duties, and responsibilities. This article provides concrete strategies and structured techniques to assist the caregiver in bridging some of these challenges. The author, Teepa Snow, is a leading educator and expert in dementia and Alzheimer’s care, who trains and helps agencies, facilities and families. Read how awareness in the moment can improve the ability to be helpful. 
A Proactive, Practical Guide for People Living with Early Memory Loss
 
People with early memory loss (EML) are teaching us about the importance of remaining active, engaged, involved and valued members of the community. This article offers an abundance of activities and advice for savoring life and enjoying its riches. These empowering tips, offered by EML expert Kristin Einberger explore evidence-based options for the mind, body and spirit. Discover how a person with early memory loss can incorporate lifestyle enhancements to improve functioning and overall health.
Enjoying Music Boosts Memory, Mood, and Well-Being

The tradition of coming together to sing has long been enjoyed in communities all over the world. Research and practice is now demonstrating that this natural human ability offers a host of benefits for people with memory loss. Listening to favorite tunes can also enhance brain activity, improve recall and decrease anxiety. Music and its impact on cognitive function is a great example of the possibilities available at our fingertips. Find out more about how and why music stimulates and activates the brain.
 
Listening is an Act of Love
Author and award winner, Dave Isay opened the first StoryCorps booth in New York’s Grand Central Terminal in 2003 with the intention of creating a quiet place where a person could honor someone who mattered to them by listening to their story. Since then, StoryCorps has evolved into the single largest collection of human voices ever recorded. His TED Prize wish is to grow this digital archive of the collective wisdom of humanity. Learn how you can take part, by recording a story with the new app or other interviewing tools.
The Arts Can Open the Door to Communication
The therapeutic gifts of color, texture, form and function can be a means of communication when words and language falter. Personal expression through dance, creative storytelling, improvisation and poetry are just a few of the ways that a person with dementia can foster a sense of self. This article discusses the arts as an important avenue for families and dementia care staff to connect with people through meaningful dialogue, inquiry and companionship. Consider what Dr. Anne Basting, founder of TimeSlips Creative Storytelling has to say about the arts.  
 

John Basgall, the photographer for the Respite Reporter appears in this photo (circa 1969) ready, with his Beatle haircut and suitcases, for an adventure as an exchange student in Spain. His current journey includes sharing caregiving for his mother and trekking through San Francisco to spot beauty, savor city life, and capture interesting images. We hope you enjoy the view through his lens. The vintage photos that accompany the StoryCorps article are from his family photo albums.


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