"Your mother will never forget you," [OSU speech pathology professor Michelle] Bourgeois told her. "She just needs help remembering." Bourgeois is part of a group of scientists whose work marks a sea change in how caregivers deal with people who have dementia, focusing on what they can do rather than on what they've lost. [...] she developed some of the first memory books, which use pictures and sentences to help people with memory problems -- including Alzheimer's patients -- recall past events. Alzheimer's disease, which affects up to 5.3 million Americans, first strikes the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is critical for learning and memory processes. Typically, long-term memory and certain kinds of skills like reading (which is overlearned so it is automatic) are less afflicted. "Even when dementia is so advanced that people cannot speak, they can read if the words are large enough," Bourgeois explains. "We know because they smile, make pleasant sounds, and stroke photos of loved ones with captions." In contrast, she says, "Spoken words literally go through one ear and out the other. Patients understand, but they can't store the memory. That's why they ask the same question again and again."More such simple solutions are needed.
22 November 2010
Help Remembering ~ Alzheimer's Caregiving...
Christine Wicker writes in Sunday Parade, Unlocking the Silent Prison, Caregivers are learning a better way to communicate with Alzheimer's patients...
Posted by Joost Bonsen at 12:00
Labels: DIY, Health, Media, Neurotechnology, Science
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