60 Seconds with...Nataly Rubinstein

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Q: What's the biggest challenge for caregivers working with dementia patients?

A: It's a sad but true fact that — at some point or another — most of us caregivers are guilty of succumbing to the “Let me do it for you, honey” syndrome. This is where we stop allowing the person with dementia to participate in activities that we feel will be tiring or difficult for them.

Q: What should caregivers keep in mind when planning activities for people with dementia?

A: Keep things simple and fun. Activities that are too challenging can lead to frustration and avoidance. No activity should go on for more than 15 minutes unless it is enjoyable — and if it's causing distress or boredom, stop immediately! If a patient feels that he is being bullied or forced into doing something, he might become belligerent or refuse.

Q: What are some guidelines to follow when planning activities?

A: Try to include as many of the “Six Ss” as possible: structure, self-determination, success, stimulation, socialization and security. Choose activities that fit the resident's interests.

* For more on “Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias: The Caregiver's Complete Survival Guide,” visit  www.AlzheimersCareConsultants.com.

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