703-329-0900

Earlier this month I attended a professional conference with many of my fellow GCM colleagues. We were fortunate to have as a speaker, David Troxel, co-author, with Virginia Bell, of the Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care. This was the second time in the last ten years I have heard him speak, and both times I have gained insight and new ideas for helping my caregiving families and hired caregivers in their caregiving role. Mr. Troxel, who advocates and teaches of a dignified approach to caregiving, pointed out several things: we can address behaviors by looking at the environment; hugs are better than drugs; and to bring out the best in persons with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, the number one focus should be on socialization. Included in socialization would be creative activities, conversation, using the life story, exercise (twice daily!), music, purposeful learning and growth, laughter, animals, and being outside. Pictures are a great way to tell a story, and he used USA Today as a good example of a periodical with lots of pictures. The tools for engaging someone with dementia are all around us. We just need to look around the house.