January 11th, 2011 at 3:11 am
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Eldercarelink’s Kathryn Kilpatrick offers new brain teasers based on reminiscing

by Carol Bursack

Speech-language pathologist Kathryn Kilpatrick is one of our hands-on care veterans on Eldercarelink.com. Kilpatrick is using her experience and expertise to offer some help for people trying to keep their own brains active, or help a loved one stay gainfully occupied.

Kathryn Kilpatrick, SPC, is a geriatric communication consultant and memory fitness specialist. She is the president of Communication Connection, as well as a writer and blogger on Eldercarelink.com.

Kilpatrick’s puzzles fit in well with a recent blog post on WSJ.com. In the post, writer Katherine Hobson promotes the book “The Playful Brain: The Surprising Science of How Puzzles Improve Your Mind,” written by neuroscientist and neuropsychiatrist Richard Restak, with puzzles by Scott Kim.

In the post, Restak is quoted as saying, “We are not claiming in our book that puzzles–or any other activity for that matter–will protect a person from Alzheimer’s if they carry a genetic predisposition to the disease. Putting aside the question of whether you have a predisposition to a brain disease, however, we can say categorically that puzzles can enhance the brain.”

Kilpatrick makes no claims, either, that these games are going to prevent or cure any brain disease. However the books, based on reminiscing through the 20th Century, look like wonderful activities for elders who want or need brain stimulation. She tells me the people who use them “love them.”

The books are formatted in large, bold print and have a lot of “white space,” so they don’t come across as intimidating. “Fill-In Puzzles,” “Brain Teasers,” “Crossword Puzzles” and “Word Searches” each present people with a different type of brain activity. I can see these excellent tools used in nursing homes and assisted living centers, but I also see the potential for many people in their homes to have fun with them.

Because You Care

A few years ago, I reviewed Kilpatrick’s book – one of many – titled Because You Care: What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do. This excellent book can help people find ways to cope with life-challenging changes, such as health issues with loved ones. It’s packed with quick tips and lists of things to remember and presented in a nice, spiral bound format that can be left open on a table.

Kilpatrick’s 40-plus years as a speech-language pathologist have given her a lot of experience interacting with people who have suffered strokes or who have dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Since she’s also been a hands-on family caregiver, she can come at issues from both sides.

“Because You Care” is available at: www.connectionsincommunication.com/pages/Caregiving.htm

The puzzle books are available at: www.connectionsincommunication.com/pages/Puzzles_Reminiscence.htm

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