Tips to Enjoy Activities with a Loved One with Dementia

When engaging in activities with your loved one with dementia, things may or may not go as planned. Here are some words of advice from the book, “Care that Works” by Jitga Zgola.
  • Avoid trying to convince a person to do something they cannot do.
  • He/she must take part willingly. There is no meaning in activities that are forced on a person.
  •  Start the activity and let the person’s natural inclination take over.
  • If the person becomes stuck or loses track of the activity, let it go and start over from the point where the person seemed to know what she was doing.
  • Anticipate and help with decision points.
  • Speak slowly, but do not speak down to the person.
  • Use short, simple phrases, addressing one topic at a time.
  • Narrow the subject down by asking Yes or No questions.
  •  Make sure you give him/her your full attention on the task or conversation at hand. Your attentive energy will keep him/her focused.
  • Use physical expressions of caring, such as gentle touching or holding hands (if she/he will allow this).
  • Find or at least acknowledge meaning in everything she/he says and does.
  • Remember, this activity will not reverse the condition, but it will lift the effects of sensory deprivation, social withdrawal, and functional decline and break the cycle that leads to excess disability.
  • Be aware of your own frustration and back off whenever you start to feel the situation is futile. But do so with sensitivity, allowing the person to save face.

Tips above found on pages 80, 142, 143, 145, 146, 161, 164 of “Care that Works” by Jitga Zgola.

Donate Your Credit Cards For Art

Jimmy Krozel, a local Portland artist makes fine art and social statements through his masterful use of mass marketed plastic credit cards and gift cards. The cards Jimmy uses are given to him by people who have walked into his gallery. People donate their credit cards to him after they hear his story. (For security purposes he never puts the cardholder’s name and card number in the same piece.)

In Mr. Krozel’s piece, “More than a Number” he juxtaposes the font size used to represent consumer’s names on a credit card to the much larger font used to represent the credit card number. “We’re insignificant compared to our number….we’re really only a number, not a name.”

Jimmy explains his use of the cards magnetic strips in the piece. Jimmy says, they “are like a mystery, like government documents where they black out everything…we don’t know what’s being transferred on that strip. They don’t let us know. You don’t know if it’s your credit rating, your account number, your balance, your habits, whatever it is.”

In “Danke Danke Danke,” Krozel invites viewers to imagine life as though behind bars. “Because if you’re paying 21-25% interest rates, your behind bars financially.” Jimmy is disgusted with society’s complacency with only being able to afford to pay the interest and inability to payoff the principle. He notes the inequalities when spending on credit cards versus cash. While it’s clearly more economical for businesses to accept cash for payment, companies instead give customer’s discounted rates for using their own credit cards.

In Mr. Krozel’s piece, “Get What You Want,” he describes his inspiration. He says, that “everyone is being conditioned through repetition to consume more than they can afford”. He uses animals to symbolize how we are being trained to accept gouging interest rates. The more often the ads appear, the more it seems like the normal going rate because that’s what you see. Through repetition of logos and pricing, advertising enslaves society”. His artwork is a statement about society and is why he creates artwork from cards that he shreds after hearing the story of the persons who visit the gallery.

Mr. Krozel is also inspired by the artwork of Mondrian. He notes how Mondrian evolved his artistic style from representation to decorative, and onto the abstract. He looked for the simplest elements of the human visual experience from which to create while also pursing an abstract visualization of sound and space.

Mr. Krozel uses the language of credit cards as a landscape from which to derive both inspiration and form. Both literally though what you see on the card and figuratively in what is written on the policies.

Jimmy’s work is located at Augen Gallery, 817 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204 All are welcome to come visit the Gallery. Portland Art Thursday’s run at all galleries until 7pm.