Innovative Alzheimer’s Therapies

The follow information comes from “A Place for Mom Newsletter.” When I was looking for a place for my Mom, I found this organization to be quite helpful. And I found this information in their newsletter both interesting and potentially useful.

Customized iPads have been provided to the residents of some memory care communities. Special apps provide reminders to residents needing prompting. The iPads include puzzles that exercise the minds of the residents and games that improve dexterity. Simple properly designed puzzles and games are engrossing and promote a sense of mastery. They provide the satisfying feeling you get when you accomplish a task that is neither too easy, nor too hard.

Art therapy has also been found to be helpful. Art therapy involves both viewing and creating art. There is an organization, Artz, http://www.artistsforalzheimers.org/,which promotes art therapy for Alzheimer patients. In 2005, under the guidance of Dr. John Ziesel, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York instituted an after-hours program for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias called “Meet Me at MoMA.” Dr Ziesel says that out therapy brings out the best in dementia sufferers, “If you met this people when they lived on an an ordinary day, you simply would not see them being this articulate and assured.” Subsequently dozens of other museums have implemented similar programs which proponents claim have benefits that last beyond therapy sessions.

Storytelling has also been found to be beneficial. Timeslips is a new dementia therapy program that involves showing a photo to a therapy group and asking members to make up a story based on the image. The states goal of the Timeslips program is to “inspire people with dementia to hone and share the gifts of their imaginations.” It also give memory impaired people an opportunity to socialize and be creatitive without having the pressure to remember.

It has also been found that light therapy that simply involves brightening room lights during the day may benefit elders with Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that bright lighting improves mood and cognition in older people with memory disorders. A study at Wayne State University sugested that more intensive light therapy using UV light might also be beneficial. This involves sessions sitting by a special, full-spectrum light.

There is also a therapy known as favorite food therapy. Called a “comfort centered approach” it allow residents practically anything (excluding foods that could be harmful) that brings them comfort, from chocolate toa small bedtime drink. This has been found to reduce medication requirements.

Understand that there still is no cure for Alzheimer’s. These therapies reduce symptons and make life more comfortable for sufferers. It is the view of the healthymemory blog that mental exercise may help ward off Alzheimer’s and other dementias. It appears that mental exercise can also reduce symptoms and increase the quality of those who have already been struck by the dementia.

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