Developing a Day's Activity
James M Turnbull
Elizabeth A Turnbull
Never tell people how to do things.
Tell them what to do,
and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
—General George S. Patton Jr.
Since there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, the emphasis in treatment must become care. A vital part of such care is a daily program or routine that keeps the patient's mind and body active. Although the focus of this chapter is on day treatment programs, most of the activities can be modified for the home or the nursing home.
Day care programs for patients with Alzheimer's disease offer much more than respite for the caregivers, as valuable as that service may be.
A well-structured program provides a mechanism for the design and coordination of plans between health care providers and caregivers. Most important, it offers an opportunity for patients to maintain a sense of community and self‐ worth in the face of increasing isolation and an inevitable decline in abilities.
Creating day care programs for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and facilities that are beyond the level that most day care centers routinely offer. The unexpected and often disruptive behavior of patients, the inability to complete tasks without step-by-step instruction, and the tendency to wander must all be accommodated.
The lack of familiarity that accompanies memory loss can lead to constant insecurity and social impotence. The strengths that patients retain are their only links with productive life. Through careful planning and guidance, these strengths may be called on, returning meaning and productivity to a life of seeming chaos.