Before starting any part of the program, read all the Program Information. There are a lot of details that will help you understand the importance of each step.
Begin using Brainercise as soon as possible.
When your Engagement Kit arrives, read and follow the instructions in How to Use the Engagement Supply Kit. This is a key element of the program’s success. You will need the supplies as they are called for in the instructions. Be prepared with the correct items before you attempt to engage them because they may lose interest while you run around trying to get organized.
Use the tote that is included to keep the Engagement Kit supplies separate from items you use in everyday life. Keep them out of reach from the participant and do not leave them alone with Kit items. Some supplies contain small parts.
Follow all the steps of the provided instructions. Each step is given for a reason and plays a role in the cognitive impact the activity has on the participant.
Only give the participant ONE step at a time.
Unless the directions say AP: (AP stands for Activity Partner) the instructions are for the participant to do. The Activity Partner (AP) should only assist with a step the participant is unable to do themselves and the completion of that step is crucial to the completion of the next step.
Brainercise follows a proprietary Process-Focused Strategy that is designed to reduce refusals to participate. This will occur when the participant is set up for success. Never tell them what the expected outcome of an activity is so they do not anticipate failure.
Concentrate on trying to help them participate in the process of each small step instead of focusing on the participant getting expected results.
Encourage but do not force participation. Your patience now will build trust which will lead to less resistance in the future.
When you are able, use environmental adjustments to create a positive environment: aromatherapy, appropriate lighting for the activity, music to set the right mood, a pleasing temperature for them, etc.
Always come to the table with a smile and a happy mood. Your enthusiasm and positive attitude will be infectious.
Be aware that conditions out of your control like weather, a full moon, and a wakeful night can interfere with program participation. If you encounter resistance, it is best to wait until the cause is resolved.
If the participant makes a mistake, say things like “Would you rather chose this…and point to the correct choice”. If they continue to make an incorrect choice, move on to the next step. There is a Guide of Phrases to Use included with each weekly instruction guide.
Allow adequate time for activity completion. If they feel rushed, they may become agitated. Know how much time you need to implement the activity and adjust accordingly.
If there is not enough time to complete even a short version of an Exercise, do it later when there is more time. Each step of the exercise is important.
In group settings, use clusters of no more than 5 when an activity involves taking turns or sharing supplies. Participants may lose interest if they must wait.
Encourage participants to help others (or you if you are one-on-one) so they feel purposeful and helpful.
Compliment them often and celebrate and reward small accomplishments.
Always watch your tone. Love and respect are very important.
Brainercise is designed to have the flexibility to fit into your schedule the way you need it to.
Be patient with the program. You will not notice quick results. In fact, you may not notice a cognitive IMPROVEMENT at all. The goal of Brainercise is to level off decline over time.
Don’t judge the activities based on your personal cognitive ability or the intellectual level of the participant prior to having dementia. The activities and exercises are dementia-friendly and are not meant to be intellectually challenging. Brainercise uses simple techniques to set the participant up for success.
Brainercise is a Cognitive Engagement Program – not an entertainment or recreation program. However, the program can and should be fun.
Enjoyment will be derived through the positive interactions that occur between the participant and the Activity Partner as they go through the steps of the program together.
Since Brainercise has done the work for you behind the scenes, you can keep the atmosphere lighthearted and make the time spent using Brainercise enjoyable.
The instructions for activities are written concisely to keep them simple and to keep the pages as uncluttered and as easy to read as possible.
Some participants will be able to correctly follow most of the directions as they are written while others will not be able to due to the degree of dementia they have.
The object of using Brainercise is to expose the participant to as much cognitive stimulation and emotional support as possible.
Be careful not to “give orders” or to tell the participant what they have to do in cases where following a specific instruction may be impossible.
Instructions are written as a guide for the Activity Partner to explain to the participant what the steps of the activity are.
As you read the instructions in preparation for an activity, gauge which steps your participant should be able to do and which ones they may have difficulty with.
If an instruction step is one they should be able to complete you can read the instruction as it is written.
For the steps you anticipate them having difficulty with, use the following guide and change the instruction by adding one of the Phrases to the instructions as it becomes necessary to prevent their frustration.