Dementia Education Program Newsletter

Nicole Drinkwater

  1. Nicole DrinkwaterWhy did you choose a career as an occupational therapist? Was there a particular event, person, or reason behind your choice? 
    Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT) were presented as possible career paths throughout my Kinesiology Degree. I became especially interested in OT when I worked at a non-profit that provides inclusion support for university students with developmental disabilities. Supporting students with their schoolwork, employment and social lives was a very challenging and interesting task that inspired me to continue my schooling.
  2. This booklet lists over 40 activities categorized under 6 sections. What section(s) of the dementia activity booklet did you work on, and why is this category of activity important? 
    I worked on the “Stimulate your Senses” section of the book. This section is important because we often forget that communication goes beyond the verbal. Activities that incorporate touch, sound, smell, and sight can be stimulating and comforting. These activities can be particularly helpful for individuals who are non-verbal or who are in the later stages of dementia.
  3. In the booklet, you talk about the importance of tailoring the activities to your loved one by adjusting the level of difficulty according to the social, physical and cognitive ability of the participant in order to help promote your loved one’s independence and decision-making. Why is this important, and what advice can you share to make this time together meaningful? 
    There is no way to write one book that is the perfect challenge for everyone. Each individual will have strengths, challenges, and interests that can vary on a daily basis. We want to promote independence as long as possible, so the caregiver should only provide assistance as needed and decide what parts of the activity may need to be modified. The idea is really to spend time with your loved one doing something you both enjoy regardless of how many steps they can complete or what the final product is.
  4. Is there a particular activity in this booklet that you, personally, enjoy doing and why? 
    Some of personal favourites are the cooking and baking activities. I find cooking/baking very relaxing and methodical and I love sharing what I make with my friends and family.
  5. What did you most enjoy about working on this project?
    For this project, I enjoyed spending with my friends (virtually) while applying some of the OT concepts we have learned in a more creative and fun way.
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