To the Editor:
I read the article “Promoting Health in Early-Stage Dementia: Evaluation of a 12-Week Course” by Buettner and Fitzsimmons (March 2009, Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 39–49) as I was working on my BSN community health project dealing with Alzheimer’s disease in my community. In addition, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 47. She is also an RN. This disease has taken so much from her, and we are finding few resources. This study is just what our communities need, and I am so excited about it. I am not sure if you are releasing the training to the public, but I would be greatly appreciative if I could purchase a copy of this training to work with my mother-in-law. Time is short and sweet, and I would like to make the most of it and my advantage of being a nurse. I wish the best of luck to the authors for this fabulous work.
Marinda Newkirk, RN
Thank you for your message. Suzanne Fitzsimmons and I have published the Health Promotion for the Mind, Body, and Spirit curriculum booklet with Venture Publishing ( http://www.venturepublish.com). You can contact them for copies.
What really works is if you run the program like a course for older people. I suggest limiting it to 10 to 12 people. We actually developed our program as a college class retired people could take in Florida. You can have the students purchase the books from you or the publisher, and there is a free instructor’s manual available from the publisher as well. Be sure to ask them about it. Students will need a 1-inch notebook to keep their materials organized.
Teaching this class is a life-changing experience, and the students also grow and change a great deal. Another thing you might want to try is a parallel course for the family members. People with dementia need their own class, but there is high demand from caregivers as well. It would be interesting to find out if, with caregiver support, the health promotion efforts might be even more successful.
Good luck with your project, and thanks for writing. It is so nice to hear that research can help in the real world!
Linda L. Buettner, PhD, LRT, CTRS
Greensboro, North Carolina