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Posted by Positive Aging Community on 03/10/2023

Using LEGO Bricks and Pieces to Create a Positive Experience for those living with Dementia

A live & interactive discussion with pioneers in using LEGO® Duplo® Bricks to embrace self-care, develop good support systems, release expectations, and practice mindful acceptance. 

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Questions Asked

  • Where can I purchase a starter kit for a disabled indivdual (downs - non verbal)?  Thank you.
  • Any concern/feeback from caregivers that using Legos may be too "kid like?"  Juvenile??
  • I am germaphobic, how do you keep the pieces clean and santized?
  • Are there specific lego sets that you utilize and recommend for this? I imagine size can play a role with safety and dexterity, etc.

Chat Transcript

12:07:26     From  Natalia Kasperovich : Good morning from Oregon. I developed and piloted cognitive activity intervention for older adults using LEGO bricks. I am inspired by your work and looking forward to hearing about this project.

12:07:49     From  Veronica Hoover : Happy Friday everyone. Veronica Hoover from Erickson Senior living, MD

12:08:17     From  Veronica Hoover : I love love love Legos

12:08:19     From  Patty Sherin : Hello All, thank you for sharing Natalia! Let’s connect.

12:08:42     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : A Special Screening & Panel Discussion of Spark on March 16 https://www.retirementlivingsourcebook.com/events?q=spark

12:08:43     From  Patty Sherin : Please connect with me https://www.linkedin.com/in/pattysherin/

12:09:35     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Join Loretta as a Keynote at this event! Kaiser Permanente Thriving After 60 Conference - Celebrating our Heroes at Home https://www.retirementlivingsourcebook.com/events/kaiser-permanente-thriving-after-60-conference-celebrating-our-heroes-at-home

12:10:05     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : https://lorettaveney.com/

12:10:07     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : https://brickbybrickbonding.com/

12:11:26     From  Laura Herman   to   Hosts and panelists : Good morning everyone! You can find me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lauraherman-dementia-care or my website at https://4thwarden.com/dementiasupport.html

12:11:52     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Brick By Brick Bonding: Tools for Family Care: Activities for Seniors Living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia and Their Care https://a.co/d/0DolaJP

12:19:52     From  Ken Silverstein : I had a participant here at Friends Club who is an avid Lego builder. He shared with us an entire presentation on the history of Legos and then his multi thousand pieces creations.

12:20:28     From  Laura Herman   to   Hosts and panelists : Awesome, Ken!

12:20:56     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Denise Brown is with The Caregiving Years Training Academy https://www.careyearsacademy.com/

12:21:50     From  Loretta Veney : Thanks for sharing that story Ken!! He sounds awesome!!

12:26:08     From  Barbara Sullivan : I am loving this!  Have you approached Lego about your work?  My D-I-Law is a Lego brand manager.  The company is SUPER family friendly (a Danish based company-but US base is here in CT and moving to Boston in 2024/2025.  I think that they would love to be a part of this!

12:27:07     From  Laura Herman   to   Hosts and panelists : That's fantastic Barbara!

12:29:50     From  Maritza Rivera : I work with older adults with intellectual disabilities. These activities sound perfect for them.

12:30:16     From  Natalia Kasperovich : Another aspect to remember. Even those who don't build and are watching are engaged.

12:30:48     From  Kristi Tupper : Hello,

12:30:48     From  Patty Sherin : I agree Maritza! Let’s connect and talk.

12:31:01     From  Laura Herman   to   Hosts and panelists : Natalia you're right on! It doesn't have to be about building. It can be just looking, exploring, sorting, offering opinions, and just passively watching.

12:32:47     From  Tiffany Benton   to   Hosts and panelists : Tiffany Benton, opening a new community as the Life Enrichment Director, and have Lego on my supply list. Based on my own experience, my now teenage children’s, and my husband who all still build Lego, it was a no brainer for me to use them with the seniors. I am thrilled to learn about your work and the groundwork you’ve laid so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel! I can’t wait to dig into all these resources! Thank you!!!

12:32:56     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : LEGO®️ SERIOUS PLAY®️ https://www.lego.com/en-us/themes/serious-play

12:33:35     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : LEGO®️ SERIOUS PLAY®️ began as an experiential process designed for use in guided workshops with adults to prompt dialogue and encourage reflection, as well as develop problem-solving skills and use of imagination. However, SERIOUS PLAY®️ sets like the Starter Kit are also suitable for building critical thinking skills in kids 6+. Each set is designed to enhance different skills, such as reflection and dialogue, which will enhance the workshop experience. This innovative approach to interaction is a valuable asset in business as well as education and helps participants open up through the approachable medium of play.

12:33:39     From  Barbara Sullivan : A company that employs "mindfulness" trainers for their own employees, I think that they would love hearing.  Email me, I would be happy to connect you with my daughter in law.  Barbara.sullivan@vtvnetwork.org

12:35:54     From  Veronica Hoover : When you are in Amsterdam, visit the Dementia Village

12:36:55     From  Ruth Fishman : This is amazing - I can't wait to explore this more and try to utilize this is in our memory care homes. Are there specific lego sets that you utilize and recommend for this? I imagine size can play a role with safety and dexterity, etc.

12:37:15     From  Veronica Hoover : How do you keep the residents with dementia from eating the pieces?

12:37:33     From  Barbara Sullivan : I can't wait to share this with our Villages!

12:37:59     From  Natalia Kasperovich : I use Duplo, they are bigger.

12:40:14     From  Laura Herman   to   Hosts and panelists : Duplo is safer because of the size.

12:42:45     From  Tiffany Benton   to   Hosts and panelists : Yes, I just was about to ask about the perception of the kid like pieces in duple.

12:43:11     From  Ken Silverstein : I read a humorous story about Legos.

12:43:58     From  Kristi Tupper : what is the third system?

12:44:13     From  Arlene Williams : I hope that Lego will consider changing the ages

12:44:15     From  Ruth Fishman : Thank you for addressing the age related piece and people associating legos with children. Can you expand a little bit more on how you address this so that it doesn't seem "childish" to families hearing about it, etc.

12:44:16     From  Barbara Sullivan : It is a great activity for someone with dementia to play with their grandchildren.

12:44:55     From  Ken Silverstein : Six doctors in Australia, concerned about the swallowing of Legos (children patients) decided to try for themselves how long does it take for a lego piece to pass through your body.  The referred to the time as Found and Retieved Time (FART) I am not making this up.

12:45:35     From  Martha : ????

12:46:09     From  Laura Herman   to   Hosts and panelists : Ken ????

12:48:01     From  Roger Anunsen   to   Hosts and panelists : Terrific discussion!!!  Natalia’s comment about the watchers brings in the magic of brain stimulation via the “viewers” mirror neurons while they watch the “doers” move the bricks.

12:48:42     From  Natalia Kasperovich : We create patchwork blocks in our program.

12:50:43     From  Maritza Rivera : I can also see my 91yr old mom playing with her great grands with these.

12:51:10     From  Loretta Veney : I hope you try it Maritza!! It's amazing!

12:51:59     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : @ken silverstein  your story is published in a report by NIH!  Everything is awesome: Don't forget the Lego https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30565781/

12:52:21     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : From Roger Anunsen to All Panelists 12:48 PM

Terrific discussion!!!  Natalia’s comment about the watchers brings in the magic of brain stimulation via the “viewers” mirror neurons while they watch the “doers” move the bricks.

12:52:24     From  Arlene Williams   to   Hosts and panelists : Loretta, you look very familiar.  Did you do any trainings with Fairfax County Adult Day Health Care centers?

12:52:33     From  Roger Anunsen : Terrific discussion!!! Natalia’s comment about the watchers brings in the beneficial magic of brain stimulation of the “viewers” mirror neurons every moment they are watching the “doers” moving the bricks.

12:52:34     From  Margaret White : Excited about this presentation.  My associate and I engage with seniors at a AAA; Senior Center and Adult Day program for Early/Mid Stage dementia.  We have utilized legos as a staff building tool and plan on hosting a caregiver program at a monthly workshop.  We look forward to continue our efforts utilizing legos as listed above and working with our seniors.

12:52:38     From  Elizabeth Barcus : Adults need to give themselves permission to play.  I buy toys for the grandkids that I can play with, too lol.  My son and son-in-law love the toys they can put together with the kids.

12:53:20     From  Loretta Veney : YES I've been to a few adult day places in VA. And been on lots of webinars with activity coordinators

12:53:59     From  Diana Caisse   to   Hosts and panelists : IKEA actually has some Lego like kits!

12:54:02     From  mary busse : My nephew is an engineer, and "plays" with lego all the time.  He goes to Lego conventions every year..  If I ever get senile, I hope Lego will be available to me.  I wanted to play with my brother

12:54:38     From  mary busse : Oops.  Brother's erector set but girls didn't play with those when I was a kid!

12:54:44     From  Barbara Sullivan : https://www.amazon.com/LEGO-Classic-Storage-Educational-Toddlers/dp/B07WJJF8PB/ref=sr_1_2?crid=POARZ9FBVC86&keywords=duplo+set&qid=1678470852&sprefix=duplo+starter+set,aps,88&sr=8-2

12:56:15     From  Arlene Williams : There are Lego expos out there

12:56:30     From  Tiffany Benton   to   Hosts and panelists : Lego can be found second hand in thrift stores sometimes, Facebook market place, local neighborhood pages, and sending out a personal letter to resident families, employees, and extended friends and families asking for donations can be incredibly lucrative ????

12:57:20     From  Elizabeth Barcus : I love Play Doh, too!

12:59:07     From  Tiffany Benton   to   Hosts and panelists : Bleach is toxic, vinegar is just as good and non-toxic

12:59:44     From  Barbara Sullivan : Thank you!  Great presentation!  Psyched to do more!

13:00:19     From  Tiffany Benton   to   Hosts and panelists : Luckily play for adults has been recently elevated as a mindfulness practice and is no longer looked at as ridiculous!

13:00:30     From  Martha : Just look at the coloring book trend for adults from the past several years. ☺️

13:00:34     From  mary busse : Second childhood is the time to give ourselves the things we didn't get as kids, and we appreciate them more!!!

13:02:22     From  Martha : thank you for this wonderful discussion!!!!!!!!

13:02:43     From  ABIOLA BAJERE : Thank you all for your contributions.

13:02:52     From  Maritza Rivera : Very excited about the possibilities

13:03:03     From  Tiffany Benton   to   Hosts and panelists : Thank you so much for the fantastic presentation! I will be ordering the book and sharing all these resources with my team!

13:03:11     From  Maritza Rivera : And the directions are easy to follow

13:03:14     From  Julie Smith : Thank you!

13:03:15     From  Elizabeth Barcus : Thank you so much for this presentation!  And you're right- Go Play!  What fun this was!

13:03:26     From  Nina Uzick   to   Hosts and panelists : This is the best program I have “attended” in a long time! Thank you!  I am going to suggest this to our librarians for a senior/ multigenerational prigram

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