Hands-On Dementia

Hands-On Dementia was developed to allow caregivers, staff and/or family members to easily learn and use hand reflexology techniques on persons with Alzheimer’s/Dementia.  Nursing home staff who have also taken these workshops, tell of positive results with their residents. 

Caregivers have reported that only a few minutes a day of Hands-On Dementia has helped:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Induce better sleep
  • Improve relations between the caregiver and person with Alzheimer’s/Dementia.  

    At the Beit Protea Nursing home department in Herzelia, staff report that using hand reflexology has reduced the amount of pain medications some residents take.  Nursing home staff have also found that Hands-on Dementia also helps new residents adjust easier to their new surroundings. 

There are several workshops available  that are thaught in Israel and abroad:

  • 1 1/2 hour introductory workshop includes learning some hand reflexology points to relax and calm
  • 3  and 6 hour workshops to learn more reflex points and practice techniques on each other.  
  • The full 15 hour workshop includes theory, practice sessions, a test and certificates of completion.  

    For more information or to arrange a workshop at your facility, please contact Oran at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (053)5533856 in Israel or (323)540-5833 in the US. 

    Scroll down to see links to articles about our work and letters from facilities that have organized Hands-on-Dementia Workshops for their staff. 
Oran had been practicing reflexology for 23 years.  She is also a certified Validation and Group Validation worker and has recently completed the Validation Teacher's Course. Oran has worked at the Kfar Saba Senior Day Care Center for over 10 years where she organizes activities to improve memory, uses Validation techniques to communicate with persons with dementia and teaches live-in caregivers hand reflexology.  In 2017 Oran Aviv was one of the recipients of the Geller Prize for her ground breaking work helping persons with dementia/Alzheimer's with hand reflexology. 
 Beit Protea Workshop Participants
Articles Published about Hands-on Dementia 
Hands on Dementia (Dorot Magazine 2013)
 Letter from Calvary Hospital Southland in New Zealand. The staff participated in the introduction Hands-on-Dementia workshop, Jan. 2017. 
Letter from Avenidas Rose Kleiner Center in Mountain View, California where the staff participated in an introductions to Hands-on-Dementia workshop. 

 Thank you letter Avenidas Rose Kleiner Center

Letter from Beth Protea where the staff of the nursing home participated in the Hands-on-Dementia Full Workshop. 

 Letter from Beit Protea Herzelia Israel
Geriatric Institue at Yad Sarah, Jerusalem Recommendation from Yad Sara Geriatric Institute

Letter from The Kfar Saba Senior Day Care Center that has already sponsered three Hands-on-Dementia full workshops for foreign live-in caregivers or persons with dementia.  

Letter Mercaz Yom Kfar Saba senior center, Israel


 Text of Letters: 
Avenidas Roase Kleiner Center 

Jul 6, 2015
Good afternoon, Oran. I am writing to express to you my deep gratitude for your outstanding Hands-on-Dementia Workshop.  Our staff members were thrilled with your workshop, and are looking forward to a follow-up Dementia Workshop in the near future.
Your PowerPoint presentation was clear and informative and your hands-on demonstration was extremely well-received.  I am looking forward to your next visit to our Avenidas Rose Kleiner Center.  Thank you from all of our staff members, and from our participants who will be the ultimate beneficiaries of your excellent training to our staff.
With great appreciation…
Thomas M. Pamilla, MSW
Avenidas Rose Kleiner Center
270 Escuela Avenue
Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 289-5498


Beit Protea
(translated from Hebrew) 
Dear Oran ,
I wanted to let you know that since you taught the hand massage course to our caregivers - in our nursing facility, there has been improvement in several areas. 
First of all, most of the caregivers really do give hand massage to the residents. We have prepared a list, so that almost all the residents receive a massage.  We noticed a number of amazing effects:
•One of the residents, a patient with Parkinson's disease and significant cognitive decline, sat all day with his hands clenched in fists, unable to open them. One of the therapists gave a daily massage to his hands and after a few days , we noticed that the hands of the resident opened and remained open during the day! The resident continues to receive massage and his hands are open all the time. 
•Another tenant who is lucid, but with extreme anxiety symptoms also received hand massage and we noticed that after the massage the resident is relaxed, can participate [in activities] and smiles.
• Another experience is a tenant who suffered from recurring constipation that really unnerved her. One of the caregivers, rubbed her hands as you taught us and low and behold, it worked better than any medical product.
Besides all these stories we have experienced and I have seen with my own eyes, it should be noted that there is an additional gain. The caregivers have a direct way to connect with the residents.  Both with the lucid residents and those that have significant cognitive decline - the massage is a topic for conversation. This gain is twofold:  of course for the resident, but the caregivers gain to by receiving positive feedback.
We really enjoyed the course, the way it was taught, how you related to each caregiver and his/her specific language and culture and now, we are reaping the results of course!
A big thank you from 
Naomi Avitsur - Social worker in the nursing department at Beth Protea
and of course the Caregivers and residents.
Yad Sarah
Translated from Heberw) 
Geriatric Institute at Yad Sarah
Dec. 31, 2015
To whom it may concern, 
I am happy to write a letter of recommendation for Ms.. Oran Aviv, who has been teaching at the Geriatric Institute at Yad Sarah for several years.
Ms. Aviv is energetic and talented and her reflexology presentations are lively and interesting.  She uses various styles and incorporates into her lectures examples, personal examples from her work along with humor and presentations. 
I have never heard of a single student (usually workers in gerontology with experience in the field) be bored by Ms. Aviv nor not learn something new from her workshop. . We are very happy when she joins our team of instructors in courses such as psycho-geriatrics, Snoezelen for the elderly or activities for the elderly.
Best regards
Leah Abramowitz
Geriatric Institute coordinates by Yad Sarah
Senior Center Kfar Saba 
December 2013
 To Whom It May Concern:
Oran Aviv has volunteered at the Merkaz Yom Lakashish – Kfar Saba for the past 5 years, working and assisting seniors, especially those suffering from dementia and other similar cognitive disorders.
Oran has also pioneered our unique project of supporting the aged through their caregivers. Using her training and experience in Reflexology she designed, developed and implemented several training programs teaching hand reflexology to the caregivers of our seniors with the goal of maintaining or even improving the mental state of the senior in their charge.
The courses were extremely well received by all including family members, the elderly and the caregivers as well.
Oran always conducts herself professionally, with compassion and understanding and a tremendous desire to contribute. She is a very special person and I highly recommend her.
Jeffrey Lieder
Director – Senior Center
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