Monday, September 23, 2013

Alzheimer's Update: Good news (for once)

SoIB Gail S tips us to this recent story in the Dayton Daily News, recounting an award-winning therapy that's deceptively simple:

"Three years ago, Wright State University professor Dr. Govind Bharwani was given a challenge: Find a way to help people living with Alzheimer’s disease so they are less prone to becoming confused, agitated, withdrawn and falling."

And it appears that he has, in fact, succeeded:

"The therapy works by providing each person with their own “memory box” filled with family photos, books and movies they love and other special items."

Once you think about it, it's kind of intuitive: one of the reasons that Alzheimer's patients become so frustrated is that loss of "connection" to the world. I recall that, with my mother, I eventually realized that she wasn't having "good" days or "bad" ones, so much as "today she's in her own world" versus "our world" days. What better way to restore (or at least enhance) that connection than re-establishing treasured experiences?

Another benefit is that this is all done with no drugs, which can be expensive and often have undesirable side effects. Research is now continuing to see how (or if) this can be applied to those living at home with this dread condition.

Kudos to WSU and Dr Bharwani.
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