Alzheimer's Disease & Other Forms of Dementia

GOAL: To provide an overview of Alzheimer’s Disease and familiarize staff/volunteers with their responsibilities when working with individuals living with Alzheimer’s and their families.

OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this session, the participant should:

  • Be familiar with Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of dementia.
  • Understand strategies for working with and supporting individuals and their families.
  • Have a general understanding of the disease process and end of life symptoms.
  • Have some coping strategies for assisting with behavior management issues.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

- Maya Angelou

Access the outline and notes from Kathy Hopkin's presentation Alzheimer's Disease: Joining the Journey of Care.

View a simple Dementia Fact Sheet made available through the Alabama CARES REACH Project and the University of Michigan REACH OUT training initiative.

Here you will find a list of local community resources to help family and friends who are caring for memory-impaired persons Local Resource List

A tool commonly used to assess the progression of Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia is the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg. View the Global Deterioation Scale.

From this scale, a second tool was developed called the FAST Scale. This tool is used by hospice to assess and document a patient's functional status. View the FAST Scale.

Validation is an approach to communicating with very old people with Alzheimer's type dementia. Access the slides from Sandy Nash's presentation Introduction to Validation. Also, view a short film of Validation in action with Naomi Fiel MSW, ACSW, the creator of Validation Therapy here

The AgingCare newsletter of 10/27/10, includes an article on how to recognize the progressive stages of Alzheimer's. Click here to read the very informative article.

Volunteer Deborah Heller attended a lecture with Dr. Paul Raia which she found very helpful in being with people who have dementia. She’s offered her lecture notes to share with other volunteers.

HHHC has a special program for the patients it serves who have dementia. It is call the Seasons Program, and focuses on providing sensory stimulation to add value to each individual's quality of life. To understand what might be meaningful to a particular person, we need to know some of their life history, so we use a form called About Me.

Additional Links

Recommended Library Resources

  • Book: Validation Breakthrough by Naomi Feil
  • DVD: Introduction to Validation Edward Feil Productions
  • DVD: There is a Bridge: Alzheimer's Disease is not the End by Memory Bridge
  • Book & Audiobook: Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • Book: The 36-hour Day by Nancy Mace
  • Book: A Dignified Life: The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care by Virginia Bell
  • Book: The Best Friends Staff: Building a Culture of Care in Alzheimer's Programs by Virginia Bell
  • Book: Talking to Alzheimer’s: Simple Ways to Connect When You Visit With a Family Member or Friend by Claudia J. Strauss
  • Book: The Forgetting Alzheimer's: Portrait of an Epidemic by David Shenk
  • Book: Inside Alzheimer's: How to Hear and Honor Connections with a Person who has Dementia by Nancy Pearce
  • Book: Alzheimer's Activities That Stimulate the Mind by Emiliea Bazan-Salazar
  • Book: Counseling the Alzheimer's Caregiver: A Resource for Healthcare Professionals by Mary Mittlelan
  • Book: Dancing with Rose: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer’s by Lauren Kessler
  • Book: Losing My Mind: An Intimate Look at Life with Alzheimer's by Thomas DeBagg