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Dance Helps Parkinson's Patients Harness Therapeutic Power of Movement

Special correspondent Dave Iverson looks at a unique program that uses dance as therapy for people with Parkinson's disease.


Is Bingo Really That Popular?

 (Source:  by Anne Basting, forgetmemory.org)

There was a surprise moment for me today in the middle of a day-long pre-conference intensive at the Pioneer Network conference in Indianapolis (2010).  First we talked about “the meaning of meaningful” – as we tried to figure out how to make everyday activities meaningful in long term care.  Then we took a turn.  “Not every activity has to be meaningful,” someone said.  “We play Bingo 7 days a week.  We tried to cut it down to 5, and the residents made picket signs and protested.”

I was stunned.  Is it REALLY that popular?  Why?  I asked people to dissect Bingo.  WHY do they want to play it 7 days a week?  What are the elements of Bingo that we can apply to other activities that the residents are clearly not engaging with?  What did they say?  They like to WIN.  They might never have won anything for years.  They like the spontaneity – the element of surprise. They like the relaxing quality – an activity they can do without explanation, and don’t need help.  (who likes that I asked…staff or residents?)  The discussion went on and on – some folks defending Bingo with all their heart.

I’m not saying Bingo is evil.  I’m saying that if your residents are THAT reliant on Bingo, you need to seriously look at what other programming you are offering – and if it is reflecting the interests/needs of the residents.  I also asked just how people might be able to wrap meaningfulness around Bingo.  Earlier in the day, someone mentioned that seeing an aide and a resident in close discussion is an ideal.  That is engagement, and it models relationships for the whole group.  HOW could we possibly get to that through Bingo?

Have residents make up their own cards – use a different word of their choice – and custom make the boards.  Give them as a gift to another group.  Invite in people to play with.  Create your own celebratory ritual for winners.  Create social roles around Bingo – (Bingo Captain of the week; Prize Distributor).

I still think that Bingo addiction is a sign that other programming is off.  It’s thinking small.  It’s not thinking about learning and growth and engagement.  But…if you DO have all that…an occasional Bingo game won’t kill you…;)  LINK HERE  

Jane Fonda's Latest Workout DVD Is Aimed At Seniors

(Source:  NPR)

The original Jane Fonda Workout released in the 1980's sold 17 million copies and helped usher in the home fitness craze. Fonda's new series is aimed at seniors and emphasizes low-impact exercise over intense aerobics. The fitness maven is 72.  LINK HERE 

Reaching People with Alzheimer's and Other Dementias through Music 

Dr. Oliver Sacks, Professor of Clinical Neurology and Psychiatry at Columbia University, in his current bestselling book, Musicophilia, writes about the amazing therapeutic effects of music on people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.  He states, "Music is no luxury to them but a necessity, and can have power beyond anything to restore them to themselves and to others at least for a while."  In this eye-opening book he devotes a chapter to this subject entitled, "Music and Identity: Dementia and Music Therapy."  For this population Dr. Sacks describes how familiar music is the key to eliciting emotions and unlocking words that have been silent. full article

Alzheimer's disease and the Power of Music 9 & 10


(Source:  Lori La Bey, From: AlzheimersSpeaks)

This is a short clip of my Mother who is in her end stages of Alzheimer's disease and the power of music. Songs played by Barbara Lee Friedman are: Take me out to the ball game & Glory Glory


Senior Sez Games -- Born From a Need

It's true that the best creations are those that satisfy a need. When seniors at a local assisted-living facility made their needs known, the seeds of Senior Sez took root.

(Source:  Lynda Seminara)

The story began at a local assisted-living facility, where I had been volunteering for years. I would visit weekly and help entertain the residents. Sometimes they'd like to have horoscopes and news read to them, and frequently they opted to play a game. Although Bingo and Scrabble were popular choices, they required the residents to move from their comfortable living-room lounge to an activity room with tables -- and that was often met with moans and groans.

They enjoyed trivia immensely, so I would read to them from trivia books and provide the multiple-choice answers. This we could do right in their lounge -- but it too had drawbacks. The trivia questions centered around a single subject, such as history, geography, or music, which was of interest to some but caused others to nod off or wander away. Moreover, there were often 5 or 6 possible answers, which led to frustration. Even I couldn't remember all of them!

The seniors' needs were crystal clear -- and prompted the birth of the Senior Sez Trivia game. The game is loaded with amusing facts on a wide array of subjects, including inventions, entertainment, lifestyles, historic events, and much more. Having this large variety minimizes boredom and promotes fairness. And what's more -- there are just two possible answers to each question. This provides simplicity and a non-intimidating atmosphere, with a 50% chance of success every time!  READ MORE

Active-Aging Industry Grows Services for Older Adults

New survey from International Council on Active Aging® shows a 51% increase in wellness programs for older adults

(Source:  colinmilner@icaa.cc, LinkedIn)

The economic news this year has generally focused on the standstill in production and consumer spending. Despite this environment, the active-aging industry is slowly but steadily growing, according to new research from International Council on Active Aging®  (ICAA), the  association that provides services and business intelligence for professionals working with people 50 years and older.

Active aging means living live as fully as possible, with opportunities for health, productivity and safety. The active-aging industry was created when ICAA brought together diverse business sectors—from real estate to seniors services and fitness—by recognizing their mutual purpose of providing services to older adults. The industry’s emphasis on quality of life among older adults has resulted in an abundance of Wii tournaments and strength training classes, expeditions to China, volunteer tutors in inner city schools, age-friendly modifications to treadmills and universal design features in new housing.

The ICAA 2010 Active-Aging Industry Development Survey collected information from 640 respondents to an online survey who work primarily in retirement communities, seniors centers, wellness centers, health clubs and additional locations that provide services for older adults. These providers of services to older adults reported a surge of optimism and service growth. 

  • Over three-quarters (77%) of respondents plan to add more activities, classes or programs over the next two years. This is a 51% increase from the responses to the identical questions that appeared on an earlier ICAA survey, conducted one year ago, when half (51%) of respondents stated they were adding in the next 12 months (ICAA Economy Survey, July 2009, 489 respondents).
  • The growth in program offerings is complemented by jobs creation: 27% plan to hire more wellness staff over the next two years.
  • Capital projects are being planned by 41% of respondents, including building new wellness centers and expanding or renovating current wellness and fitness facilities. Retirement communities are refurbishing or building new residences.

“While the larger economy may be suffering from a cold, the active-aging industry is in good health,” explained Colin Milner, CEO of International Council on Active Aging. “From the business perspective, the market of older adults is large and growing, and overall older adults have a net worth that enables them to make choices to maintain their health and keep their days interesting.  The results of this survey show that businesses are positioning themselves to meet those needs, by building and upgrading facilities and expanding their programs.”  READ MORE


Colin Milner • Wayne, there were many programs identified, from brain fitness to outdoor exercise classes, etc. They broke down this way, within the wellness model:

97% Physical (e.g. exercise, nutrition, sleep, disease management)
88% Social (e.g. clubs, dancing, group activities)
82% Intellectual (e.g. arts & crafts, journaling, games/puzzles)
74% Emotional (e.g. peer counseling, stress management, humor/laughter)
74% Spiritual (e.g. faith-based, personal meditation/reflection, mindful exercise)
61% Environmental (e.g. meditation gardens, walking trails)
58% Vocational (e.g. paid work, volunteer work, skills classes)    MORE