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Rita Altman, R.N.
Rita Altman, R.N., M.S.N., C.V.M., is the Senior Vice President, Memory Care & Program Services, for Sunrise Senior Living where she uses the latest evidence-based research to design and oversee the implementation of Sunrise's memory care and assisted living programs.

She received her B.S.N. from The University of Pennsylvania, and her Master's degree in Nursing Leadership and Management from The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Rita has more than 30 years of nursing experience which includes nursing education, staff development training, intergenerational programming, and management in childcare, adult day care, assisted living and skilled nursing settings.

Rita is one of eight Validation Masters worldwide, and studied under Naomi Feil, who developed the Validation Method. She has contributed to and authored articles for nursing and trade journals and has spoken on the topic of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias both nationally and internationally. She has also participated in or provided resource support in several televised media presentations including The Memory Loss Tapes for HBO's Alzheimer's Project.

Rita volunteers her time to educate and advocate for improved dementia care services and quality of life for those with Alzheimer's disease and their family caregivers. She is an advisory council member of the Greater Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, a member of Pennsylvania Health Care Association's Speakers Bureau, a board member of the Validation Training Institute, a member of The George Washington University Nurses' Honor Society, Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing, and the Alpha Eta Society.

Entries by Rita Altman, R.N.

Keeping the Summer Safe and Fun for Those With Memory Loss

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2015 | 2:36 PM

With the unofficial start of summer underway, many of us are eagerly anticipating all that this fun-filled season has to offer. There are so many things to look forward to that involve family -- from Father's Day and Fourth of July, to barbeques and vacations at the beach. For those...

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Living With Alzheimer's: Why Caregivers Should Pay Attention to Mealtime

(3) Comments | Posted March 26, 2015 | 6:32 PM

Food. It's something we all enjoy. But imagine that you can no longer recognize when you're feeling hungry or thirsty. What would it be like if you had just eaten a full meal, and then within a few minutes you were looking for food again because you forgot you just...

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5 Holiday Safety and Enjoyment Tips for Those With Memory Loss

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2014 | 2:20 PM

During the holidays, many people get in the spirit of spending quality time with loved ones. For those with memory loss, however, the holidays may pose a number of safety challenges. Here are some tips to help everyone in the family have a safe and happy holiday season.

1. Stick...

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5 Ways You Can Help Reduce the Risk of Developing Alzheimer's Disease

(1) Comments | Posted November 25, 2014 | 6:18 PM

Thanks to celebrities like Glen Campbell willing to tell their stories, many more people are now familiar with Alzheimer's -- the deadly disease that slowly robs a person's memory and ability to perform everyday activities. This increased attention is welcomed, given what we do and do not know...

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Memory Loss and Denial: 5 Warning Signs Loved Ones Should Not Avoid

(2) Comments | Posted September 23, 2014 | 2:39 PM

Each year, Alzheimer's awareness is heightened on September 21, World Alzheimer's Day. This dreaded disease impacts not only the person living with it, but also their loved ones. All who know the person experiencing memory loss are affected by watching the inevitable, progressive decline that accompanies it.

According to the

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National Grandparents Day: Five Ways to Make and Share Precious Memories When a Grandparent Has Memory Loss

(1) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 3:45 PM

More than 35 years ago, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated annually on the first Sunday after Labor Day. Ever since, our nation has been honoring the special bond between grandchildren and grandparents. The idea was originated by Marian McQuade, whose intention was...

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5 Tips to Communicate With a Loved One Experiencing Memory Loss

(3) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 6:24 PM

Kate, a 45-year-old working mother of three, has been providing care for her mother, Mary, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease two years ago. With Kate's ongoing oversight, Mary has been able to remain in her own home. Then, late one night, Kate received a phone call from a neighbor,...

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Is Innovation in Memory Care Overrated?

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 3:53 PM

People often ask about new innovations in the field of memory care. It seems we're always searching for new ideas, methods, devices and technologies that will transform or at least make the devastating experience of memory loss more tolerable. Fortunately, to date there have been some very noteworthy discoveries and...

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Let's Celebrate Great Frontline Caregivers

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 1:29 PM

Anna, an 86-year-old resident who lives in a memory care neighborhood, shows signs of stress as she paces back and forth in the hallway and in a loud shrill voice repeatedly calls out the name of her sister Jane, who lives hundreds of miles away. I observe Chris, a frontline...

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Global Dementia Research: New Treatments on the Horizon

(1) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 4:24 PM

When you hear about a G8 Summit, you most likely envision important world leaders meeting to discuss contemporary global issues such as the world economy or climate change. Dementia was actually the focus this time at the first-ever G8 Dementia Summit held last month in London, where leaders

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Helping Older Adults Cope With Lifestyle Changes

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 4:37 PM

During the holidays, some families may notice changes in their senior loved one's cognitive or physical health, prompting them to consider that it may be time for them to move to a senior living community. When that time comes, some may take it for granted and assume it's a natural...

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Find Your Anchor: Alzheimer's Support Groups Are Empowering

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 6:59 PM

Imagine being a 45-year-old mother of three teenagers, having a full-time career and a mother of your own with Alzheimer's disease, for whom you regularly provide care. This is a classic example of someone in the "sandwich generation," where responsibilities involve providing care to both children and parents....

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The Powerful Effects of Music in Memory Care

(1) Comments | Posted July 24, 2013 | 6:06 PM

Have you ever witnessed a person who can no longer speak in a full sentence, but still can sing an entire song? Or have you ever listened and watched as a person with advanced memory loss beautifully plays an entire piece on a piano? In my work in memory care,...

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Promoting Independence for Those With Memory Loss

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2013 | 6:00 PM

As the summer season begins and many of us celebrate the 4th of July, I'm reminded of how the term independence translates to those with Alzheimer's disease and related forms of memory loss. It's only natural that well-intentioned caregivers want to do all that they can to reduce the anxieties...

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The Benefits of Volunteering

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2013 | 5:06 PM

Think about the last time you volunteered your time and talents to an important effort or cause. How did it make you feel? With the busy lives we lead, just the thought of volunteering might seem overwhelming, but in reality it could be very beneficial. It's easy to think about...

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Alzheimer's Caregivers: Try a Walk to Help Reduce Stress and Benefit Your Mind, Body and Spirit

(1) Comments | Posted April 12, 2013 | 5:08 PM

Caregivers and care partners of those with Alzheimer's disease or a related form of dementia can experience great satisfaction and fulfillment in caring for their loved one. However, they often don't have enough time to take care of themselves, which can lead to stress and can cause issues with their...

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Valentine's Day: The Perfect Day to Show Your Love to Someone with Alzheimer's Disease

(1) Comments | Posted February 13, 2013 | 10:24 AM

One of the most basic human needs is to feel loved, and Valentine's Day presents the perfect opportunity for caregivers to meet this need for someone with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia. Even though individuals with memory loss no longer have the same cognitive awareness they once did,...

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Make Brain Fitness One of Your New Year's Resolutions

(1) Comments | Posted December 31, 2012 | 1:40 PM

As we all look forward to another year, no doubt many of us are making resolutions that include ways to become healthier. I'd like to encourage everyone to consider a resolution focused on their brain health in 2013, especially as the number of those who develop Alzheimer's disease continues to...

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Helping Seniors Prepare for and Cope With Natural Disasters

(1) Comments | Posted December 7, 2012 | 3:35 PM

Seniors are known to have enduring spirits. Many have an amazing ability to handle hardships, most likely because they have already weathered so many storms in their life. Despite this resiliency, dealing with natural disasters can pose unique challenges for those in the older population who are frail and may...

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Being a Successful Caregiver: Getting the Support You Need

(1) Comments | Posted November 12, 2012 | 4:00 PM

Receiving the news that a loved has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or a related form of dementia is often life-changing. As our population ages, more and more of us are faced with the difficult reality that our loved ones are experiencing increased memory impairment. Whether this is in the...

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