Edmonton Journal from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on February 15, 2010 · 44
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Edmonton Journal from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada · 44

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Issue Date:
Monday, February 15, 2010
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D6 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2010 EDMONTON JOURNAL edmontonjournal.com IN CO-OPERATION WITH UNIVERSITY OF f ALBERTA & 0skip ' step SmttdD aclaoi s EDMONTOI J0UIIA1 c-s nliri n, fib rililf 1 i 0)run Pain speaks many languages for those with dementia BY LAURIE WANG Pain in older adults with dementia such as Alzheimer's is often undetected and undiagnosed. University of Alberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine researcher Cary Brown, PhD, has developed an online workshop and toolkit for family members, caregivers, health-care providers and friends of people with dementia to help. "Sometimes you hear the story about how Mom starts lashing out and fighting when people are helping her get dressed people think it's the dementia. It turns out that Mom actually has a fractured elbow but nobody knows because she was alone when she fell and hurt herself," says Brown, associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. "Health-care providers have a hard time detecting pain because they are not with the person often enough or long enough to notice changes in behaviour. Usually family members are the best people to make these types of meaningful observations." Pain is the most frequently reported symptom of older people living in the community. More than 80 per cent of people living in residential care experience enduring pain. For older people with dementia, the problem is even greater because they cannot always reliably self-report or ask for medical attention. It takes time to observe and understand that a person with dementia is in pain. "The elderly who suffer from dementia aren't able to say when something hurts or is sore. They may demonstrate their pain through behaviours like rocking or striking out, and we often dismiss these actions for the dementia instead of treating the pain which is usually from a different problem," Brown explains. She has developed a website and toolkit to help. With the support of the Alberta Centre on Aging, The Canadian Council on Learning, The Canadian Dementia Knowledge Translation Network and The Alzheimer's Society Alberta and Northwest Territories, Brown was able to create an evidence-based website with a narrated presentation on pain and dementia; a downloadable resource pack for family members; a downloadable pain log; and a facilitator's toolkit with background material, a planning guide, promotional material and supplemental information for organizations who wish to put on a workshop. The project took more than a year and a half to get to this stage, undergoing about six months of field testing. The website won a 2010 national award for pain awareness. "Arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, fractures, muscular contractures, bruises, abdominal pain and mouth ulcers are among the list of common ailments that r I s f ft. J U I i A r Qi i r v i. . I-'.. S J. K i 1 - -l 1 ,.' if: m "mm Exercise can boost your mood If you find that your mood could use a lift, try exercising. Working out will stimulate the production of oxygen and your circulation for energy and alertness. It will also improve your body image and self-confidence as you start to get fit! In today's stress-filled world, exercise is one way to naturally stimulate ourselves. Here are some other time-tested ways: - Focus on the positive. Look at what is going right, what you have accomplished and how far you have come. It will give you the boost you need to keep going. - Lend a hand by reaching out to others. Voluntary social work and community service takes you out of yourself and focuses your mind on something positive. It will increase your sense of self-worth. - Plan to include an enjoyable activity in your schedule every week. It could be a picnic, a party, a movie or a healthy meal out. - Listen to uplifting music. Music is the ultimate mood changer! - Put that smile back on your face. If you're feeling down, don't frown, smile! Walk briskly, don't drag your feet. Don't slouch, sit up straight. The actions that go into being happy will make you feel happy. - Brighten up your surroundings by using colourful flowers, paintings and brighter lights. - Exercise regularly: Exercises like walking, swimming, cycling and jogging improve your sense of well-being. They help you relax and reduce tension. Before you know it, you will be ready and feel like you can take on the world! Pain is the most frequently reported symptom of older people living in the community. More than 80 per cent of people living in residential care experience enduring pain. go undetected," Brown says. "It is important for those who live or work with people with dementia to be informed detecting pain and getting treatment sooner rather than later. Dementia shouldn't mean you have to suffer needlessly in pain." The toolkit guides family members in identifying behaviours and other signs that may indicate a loved one is suffering from pain. These signs include: laboured or noisy breathing; negative sounds such as moaning, groaning or crying: facial expressions such as frowning or grimacing: body language such as fist clenching, tension or striking out; and inconsolability or being distracted and difficult to reassure. The research team is now looking at who is using the website and how they heard about it. "This is important so we can target the best way to get health information to the different groups of people who need it," says Brown. "For example, the newspaper might be the best way to get information to family members, and email alerts are the most effective way to reach health-care providers. "We still need to do more research in this area. Health information is like panty-hose - one size does not fit all!" The online workshop and toolkit are available at: www.painanddementia.ualberta.ca. '-. t, I - 'U ( . Ask the expert Q How can I get my family to sit down and have a healthy meal together? Alberta Health Services dietitian Jillyan Jay says when families have regular meals together they help build stronger families and healthier diets. A Finding time between hockey practice, piano lessons and getting homework done, along with all the other activities busy families have on their plates, to regularly sit down and have a meal together is one way to help promote healthy families. Eating together means eating better, says Alberta Health Services registered dietitian Jillyan Jay. Children and teens who eat together with their families eat more vegetables, fruit, whole grain products and calcium-rich foods, and less fat and saturated fat and fewer soft drinks. Jay provides some basic tips for families to enjoy the benefits of eating together: Make it a habit to have at least three meals each week as a family. If supper is a busy time, then consider making breakfast a family mealtime. Get the whole clan involved! Give everyone a task to get a meal on the table, whether it is finding a recipe, planning the meal or grocery list, helping with shopping, cooking or clean-up. Family meals that involve all generations build pride in food culture and tradition. pioaciiv www.albertahealthservices.ca will appear every Monday on the back page of the Journal's "Body & Health" section. For comments or story ideas, feel free to e-mail proactivethejournal.canwest.com. Tighten your budget your family bond and . In this economy, it's not uncommon for families to have to re-evaluate their spending. But tightening your family's budget can be the perfect time to tighten your bond as a family. "When family income suddenly drops, one of the things to do is involve the entire family in a family finance discussion. What you lose in income can equal big gains in family bonding," says Sharon Shenker, relationship coach. Here are a few tips for making the best of a tough financial situation: 1. 2. 3. Working together for a healthier world'" morethanmedication.ca Set a discussion time. Set up a family meeting to specifically discuss finances. Ensure everybody is present. Include young children. It's important to involve them because kids can take things personally and understand cutbacks as punishments. Tailor your message to kids. Younger children don't need all the details but they do need to understand that no one is to blame. Older kids may ask questions that require some specifics. Be honest with them by breaking down your expenses. Detail how family life will change. Be prepared to answer questions with kid-friendly examples. Take steps to relieve your stress. Meditate, laugh, exercise. Start new family traditions. For example, make gifts instead of buying. Let your kids help. Life has ups and downs. When your family bands together, you're more likely to see the pluses. 8. For information on how to relate better and interactive health and wellness tools, visit morethanmedication.ca. Pfizer is committed to helping you discover the simple things you can do every day that will improve your mental and physical health. Because we believe to be truly healthy, it takes more than medication.

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