"As Alzheimer's disease progresses, the need to nurture, love and be loved increases." American Assoc Geriatric Psychiatrists
Check out this article and video on the benefits of Doll Therapy fro those with mid-late stage Alzheimer's disease.
It speaks to exactly what we are promoting and what we know works. Stuffed animals like Memorable Pets serve the same purpose as a baby doll in Doll Therapy. They satisfy the need to nurture, love and be loved.
I recently attended the Markesbery Symposium on Aging and Dementia put on by the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky. There were more than 600 scientists, researchers and laypeople joined together in Lexington Kentucky to learn about the incredible research they are doing and to share findings on slowing the disease and possible future prevention. UK is one of the original 10 research centers in the US, designated by The National Institutes of Health, (NIH). Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's diease.
For me, a layperson, the Saturday presentations to the community were very interesting, inspiring and informative. The keynote speaker was Ronald C. Petersen, MD, PhD. Dr. Petersen is the director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Center. He is also the director of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, a population-based study of aging with a cohort of more than 2,800 men and women. His presentation, “Biomarkers in the Community” presented data from this aging study. To learn more link to the site below...
Dr. Petersen, a world reknown neurologist, also cared for Glen Campbell, counrty / pop superstar who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010. His family was incredibly brave in allowing Glen to hit the road even with his Alzheimer's condition was worsening. He played all around the US and had to read the lyrics to his beloved songs (that he had sung thousands of times) from a tele-prompter. It was amazing he could still play his guitar and all the musical notes! Here is the trailer to the movie...
"In 2011, music legend Glen Campbell set out on an unprecedented tour across America. They thought it would last 5 weeks instead it went for 151 spectacular sold out shows over a triumphant year and a half across America.
What made this tour extraordinary was that Glen had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He was told to hang up his guitar and prepare for the inevitable. Instead, Glen and his wife went public with his diagnosis and announced that he and his family would set out on a “Goodbye Tour.”
The film documents this amazing journey as he and his family attempt to navigate the wildly unpredictable nature of Glen’s progressing disease using love, laughter and music as their medicine of choice."
It is a must see film!
Glen's family has also set up an Alzheimer's fund on the sales of the movie. They are my kind of people!
Professor of psychiatry at the University of Gothenburg, Dr. Ingmar Skoog, and colleagues conducted a study which showed that women with certain personality traits at middle age were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's 40 years later.
The study involved 800 women between the ages of 38 and 54 (in the year of 1968), in which the women filled out personality questionnaires and their cognitive skills were periodically evaluated. The personality spectrum ranged from neuroticism—women who reacted more emotionally to events, worried more, and had lower self-esteem—and extraversion—women who showed higher levels of trust and fewer emotional imbalances.
Four follow-ups in the study were made over the next 38 years, at which the women reported their stress levels. Women who had higher neuroticism scores also had higher stress levels, and vice versa for women who had lower neuroticism scores.
Dr. Skoog believes that stress may be the primary correlation between personality and the chance of developing Alzheimer's later in life, and that characteristics of neuroticism are very intertwined with high stress levels. Prior studies have also supported that higher stress levels can lead to dementia.
Although Skoog doesn't believe that altering one's stress patterns or negative emotions can entirely prevent Alzheimer's or dementia, he says that the connection is a productive one: “It’s important to try to find as many factors as you can that contribute to common disorders. The more factors we can do something about, the more we can reduce risk quite substantially.”
(Due to a theory published by a U.S. doctor whose license was revoked, many people incorrectly believe flu vaccinations increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's.)
One of the biggest (and most unfortunate) myths surrounding Alzheimer's disease is people believing that Alzheimer's is simply a natural part of aging, while many people are also under the impression that Alzheimer's is not a fatal disease.
While caregivers and those who specialize in geriatrics are aware that both of the above statements are false, numerous surveys among the general populace in several countries, including the U.S., point to large-scale spreading of misinformation about Alzheimer's. (alz.org: source)
In addition to the above myths, there are also many others pertaining to the disease, such as the beliefs that Alzheimer's only affects older people or that the disease can be cured or treated. It is very important for people to be correctly informed about the significance and seriousness of Alzheimer's, especially when the number of those afflicted by some form of dementia (over 44 million) is expected to double by the year 2030.
Read more about popular myths regarding Alzheimer's: Alzheimer's Myths