People afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have a profound need for harmony and often exhibit behavioral issues when they are experiencing internal chaos. To assist caregivers—both family and professional—with creating an atmosphere of harmony, the staff at the Comprehensive Services on Aging (COPSA) Institute for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey has produced a series of free educational videos, available on the COPSAEducation YouTube channel (http://bit.ly/13YCWUD).
“Circle Of Harmony: Managing Behavioral Disturbances in Adult Day Dementia Programs” is a 66-minute film that includes vignettes and interviews with clients and professionals. It was designed to assist Adult Day Program professionals in preventing behavior problems and maximizing the functioning of people with dementia. It was created for professionals, but family caregivers are also finding it valuable. “The film helps family members make sense of the baffling changes they see in their loved ones,” explains Mary Anne Ross, Coordinator of the COPSA Statewide Resource Center and Helpline (800.424.2494). There is an accompanying workbook that is colorful, easy to follow and full of helpful information. The workbook can be downloaded as a PDF from the description box of the “Circle of Harmony” video on the COPSAEducation YouTube channel.
“Bridges: A Toolkit for Day Program Professionals and Family Caregivers” is a two-DVD series geared toward educating Day Program Professionals and family members on how to effectively communicate with each other to provide the best care possible for the individual with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The family member video runs 29 minutes; the professional video is 23 minutes.
A study published by Pennsylvania State University researchers in the May issue of The Gerontologist showed that adult day care programs offer significant stress relief for family caregivers, who often play primary roles in managing their loved ones’ everyday lives and affairs. The COPSA video series is designed to educate these caregivers on the benefits of Adult Day Programs to both their loved ones and to their families and to educate professionals on how to best communicate with clients and their families.
“We believe that no matter how impaired someone is, the essence of the person remains,” says Mary Catherine Lundquist, MDiv., the director of the COPSA Dementia Day Program and one of the executive producers of the films.
“Circle of Harmony” and “Bridges” were funded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division on Aging Services, Adult Day Services Program under the direction of Terri Wilson RN BSN, Caregiver Initiatives Specialist.