Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cognitive Therapy For People With Dementia

In March, 2010, I wrote a piece entitled "Can Painting Help Dementia Sufferers?" I was so impressed with this concept that I suggested to the person in charge of art for the library in Boynton Beach, Florida, that, considering the demographics in the area, she consider starting a program like this. Maybe it was budget considerations, but I never heard from her.

Now, along comes Cognitive Dynamics a website devoted to what they call "Bringing Art To Life." In my opinion, they are doing exciting work showing the potential of people with dementia to enjoy an enhanced quality of life and to find ways to express themselves that are not word-dependent.

See their video, "Bringing Art to Life in Beverly Hills" as well as their website and I bet you'll agree with me that they are onto something fabulous. And it's not just art therapy. Their program includes music, drama and poetry therapy as well as art.

They describe their mission as:"To improve the quality of life of patients with cognitive disorders (such as Alzheimer’s disease) and their caregivers through education, research, and support of innovative care models which promote human dignity, especially therapies employing the expressive arts."

So I suggest becoming familiar with the work of Daniel Potts, a Neurologist with a special interest in cognitive enhancement for dementia patients, and Ellen Woodward Potts, Co-author of A Pocket Guide for the Alzheimer's Caregiver, Managing Partner at Dementia Dynamics, LLC and instructor at the University of Alabama. These folks are shining a much needed light onto the darkness of our current knowledge of dementia.

Bob Tell
Author, "Dementia-Diary, A Caregiver's Journal"
Paperback: http://dementia-diary.com
e-book: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/9565


Lindy said...

my mother in law was a painter but has lost much of her eyesight. We paint anyway. http://lindyslovelies.blogspot.com/2011/06/just-thought.html
It is hard to provide activities that she wants to do... and every day is an adventure.
Yesterday's adventure was her telling me that the neighbor must be constipated because they came over to get figs... she invited them to. LOL

Bob Tell said...

Hi Lindy

Thanks for your comment about the figs. laughter is one of the best healing emotions there is. It is one of the things I like to emphasize regarding caregiving, and which I have built into my memoir, "Dementia Diary, A Caregiver's Journal." Many readers have written me to thank me for adding humor to their caregiving experiences. Best wishes to you and your mother-in-law.

Lindy said...

Some days we can laugh and some we cannot. ;)
Thanks for doing this blog. Many days I don't think I can handle this any more but your blog is giving me hope. Thanks.

Lindy said...

I read your book, it was good. Sad at times. Just like life.
My MIL has been fortunate that her dementia is mild so far. She's 96 so hopefully won't develop into something full blown. The other day we got scan results that showed her hip bone has died. Nothing to do about it because of her age. She said, "Tell my hip not so fast, don't get ahead of the rest of my body, I'm not ready to go yet!" We know there are harder times ahead, but laughing as much as possible helps.

Bob Tell said...

Again...thank you Lindy. For your meaningful comments and for reading Dementia Diary, A Caregiver's Journal. I appreciate your feedback. I wrote it because my mom would have been thrilled to know that her story had healing benefits for others. Other readers have also said that Dementia Diary helped to ease their pain. By the way, your mother-in-law's comment about her hip is wonderful and I truly admire her courage and humor. Best wishes.

cielle said...

If i were a painter i probably help you with your cause. Coz when I grow old, i don't want to experience what are the older people experiencing right now.
Nursing Homes in Melbourne

Bob Tell said...

Hi Cielle

Greetings from Michigan, USA. I was in Melbourne in 2010 and loved your city. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Aged Care Melbourne said...

Massage Therapy can be used to help with the discomfort and symptoms of dementia such as anxiety, aggressiveness and irritability. Dementia is a term meaning loss of memory and loss of cognitive function, as well as affective and behavioral disturbances. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia.

Bob Tell said...

My daughter-in-law is a massage therapist and would support your point about the benefits of massage therapy for dementia sufferers. While Alzhemer's is the most publicized of the dementias, other dementias (ie: vascular, frontal lobe, parkinson's, lewy body, etc.) frequently get lumped together into Alzheimer discussions and news reports. It is the one most people think of. But is it substantially more prevalent than some of these other dementias? I'd be interested in seeing statistics on this point. Thanks for adding to the discussion.