November 16, 2015 by
One of the hardest parts of Alzheimer’s disease is that, as the disease progresses, communication and connection become more and more difficult. In fact, relating to someone with Alzheimer’s can be daunting, even for medical professionals. As Marcia Childress, University of Virginia School of Medicine’s associate professor of medical education explains, “It’s frightening to take care of someone you don’t understand.”
In an effort to bridge the gap, two interesting ideas have been tested with great success. Most recently, a 90-minute art museum field trip for medical students paired with Alzheimer’s patients and their families allows for interaction through viewing, discussing, and creating art together. Before and after results of the Dementia Attitudes Scale survey, completed by the med students, showed an increase in their comfort level with Alzheimer’s patients, and allowed them to focus on their capabilities rather than their limitations.
Another promising means of creating a connection is through the creative storytelling program TimeSlips, in which dementia patients are shown surreal pictures (such as an elephant resting on a bench) in a group setting, and encouraged to express their thoughts on what they see. Medical students then work with the group to create a poem compiled of the patients’ responses.
At Home Independent Living’s Syracuse care professionals are always excited to learn of advances in caring for and enhancing the lives of those with Alzheimer’s. Our Alzheimer’s and dementia care services are designed to provide both home care assistance and enjoyable cognitive engagement to ensure that your loved one receives the care he or she needs along with stimulating activities and social interaction that provide an enhanced quality of life. Contact us any time for more resources or to learn how we can help provide your loved one with the care he or she needs.