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The Source® for Alzheimer's & Dementia
Ages: Adults   Grades: Adults

These therapy activities and techniques help clients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) remain more alert, sociable, and communicative throughout the stages of the disease. 


  • Assess communication and reduce communication breakdowns in persons with mild to severe Alzheimer's and dementia
  • Implement strategies to manage memory, swallowing, communication, and social challenges
  • Form an Alzheimer's/dementia support group
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Give families of persons with Alzheimer's disease and dementia accurate information, clear-cut assessments, and practical suggestions to aid in communication.  The information is adaptable to persons residing in assisted living centers, skilled nursing facilities, or at home.  Copy the client activity pages or print them out from the FREE CD.  Features of the book are:

  • 80 pages of reproducible therapy materials including pictures for conversation topics, schedules, social reminders, and activities for daily living
  • suggestions for modifying the environment to keep the person with AD safe and oriented
  • therapy strategies such as memory aids and the use of errorless learning and spaced retrieval
  • guidelines for forming a caregiver support group with reproducible handouts

Copyright © 2000

199-page book plus a CD of the reproducible pages, checklists, glossary, therapy activities
  • According to the Alzheimer's Association (2009), one in eight persons aged 65 and older have Alzheimer's disease.  This population will continue to grow as the baby boomer generation ages, putting increasing strain on the health care system.
  • Caregiver training on the following communication strategies was effective between caregivers and individuals with Alzheimer's disease: using simple sentences, asking yes/no questions, and eliminating environmental distractions (Small, Gutman, Makela, & Hillhouse, 2003).
  • Speech-language pathologists have adequate training in the areas of cognitive-communication disorders and dysphagia and must use ethical judgment to provide appropriate intervention to individuals with dementia (ASHA, 2005).
  • In a study of individuals with mild cognitive impairment and possible early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, participants showed significant improvements in verbal and episodic memory after participating in a structured cognitive rehabilitation program, including external memory aids and memory strategies (Kurz, Pohl, Ramsenthaler, & Sorg, 2009).
  • Early research shows that spaced-retrieval techniques to improve memory in individuals with mild dementia are beneficial and effective with this clinical population (Mimura & Komatsu, 2007).

The Source for Alzheimer's & Dementia incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Alzheimer's Association. (2009). 2009 Alzheimer's disease facts and figures. Retrieved December 1, 2009, from

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2005). The roles of speech-language pathologists working with individuals with dementia-based communication disorders [Position Statement]. Retrieved December 1, 2009, from

Kurz, A., Pohl, C., Ramsenthaler, M., & Sorg, C. (2009). Cognitive rehabilitation in patients with mild cognitive impairment. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 24, 163-168.

Mimura, M., & Komatsu, S. (2007). Cognitive rehabilitation and cognitive training for mild dementia. Psychogeriatrics, 7, 137-143.

Small, J.A., Gutman, G., Makela, S., & Hillhouse, B. (2003). Effectiveness of communication strategies by caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease during activities of daily living. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46, 353-367.


Pam Britton Reese


Pam Britton Reese, M.A., CCC-SLP, owns a private practice, CommunicAid Plus, where she provides speech and language services to children and adults.  She is also an educational consultant to public and private schools.

Pam first became interested in Alzheimer's disease (AD) when her mother-in-law was diagnosed with the disease in 1993.  Pam's consultant work with families as they struggle with AD led to the writing of this book.

The Source for Alzheimer's & Dementia is Pam's second publication with LinguiSystems.  She is also co-author of Autism & PDD Social Skills Lessons.


Staff at the assisted living center all knew Mrs. C.  She was the resident "behavior problem."  She continuously walked and paced in circles around her room.  Her loud cries could be heard throughout the building.  When the staff attempted to distract or redirect her behavior, she became increasingly loud and distraught.  Nothing worked to calm Mrs. C.  Finally, during a visit from a consulting speech-language pathologist, the SLP noticed that cold air from a large air vent was blowing directly on Mrs. C's chair.  Once the temperature and air flow were adjusted, Mrs. C's problem behavior disappeared.

Do you know Mrs. C?  Is she a resident at the facility where you work?  Are you the staff member who works with her family?  As communication specialists, SLPs are in a unique position to help patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and their families as they cope with the different stages of the disease.

I wrote The Source for Alzheimer's & Dementia to help the SLP who works with patients with AD whether they live in assisted living centers, skilled nursing facilities, or in the homes of their caregivers.

Section One gives background information on the history of AD, the brain and its role in memory and cognition, and a review of communication and behavior.  This material may be copied and shared with caregivers.

Section Two contains techniques to help people with mild to severe AD maintain optimal levels of function as well as suggested environmental modifications to help the person with AD stay safe and oriented.  An agenda and activities for a six-week caregiver training program is also in Section Two.

There are also four appendixes filled with useful information.  Appendix One contains therapy materials (sample schedules, therapy conversation topics, sample social reminders, and visuals for self-care activities).  Appendix Two defines other forms of dementia.  Recommended books about AD, support groups, and websites are listed in Appendix Three and Appendix Four.

I have two goals for you as you use this book.  First that you find the treatment suggestions in Section Two useful in your practice.  I also hope that you will be able to share information from this book with family caregivers.  Communication breakdowns remain the most stressful component of living with AD—affecting every corner of life.  I believe that if caregivers understand the nature of communication and what happens when it breaks down, they will be better able to care for and enjoy the person with AD.