Alzheimer’s illness is considered one of society’s most devastating illnesses, not solely due to what it does to the Alzheimer’s sufferer however as a lot due to the toll it takes on the caregiver. Because of this Alzheimer’s care has grow to be a rising precedence in America.
Whereas medical science searches for a remedy and a preventative, the search is underway to develop therapeutic methods for Alzheimer’s care that may sluggish the progress of the dementia or can deliver aid to sufferers and Alzheimer’s caregivers alike. In recent times, reminiscence stimulation has been found to sluggish the progress of dementia in Alzheimer’s sufferers in addition to different types of progressive dementia. Research have discovered that by exercising the reminiscence of the Alzheimer’s affected person, one can efficiently sluggish the progress of the dementia. This has led to the suggestion that relations create what’s termed a “reminiscence repository” which can be utilized to assist stimulate and train the parts of the mind that cope with reminiscence. Reminiscence repositories, merely put, are exterior artifacts which may set off the reminiscence of a affected person. These may be within the type of photograph journals, scrapbooks or DVDs or any sensible technique for displaying these reminiscence triggers.
In commenting on this space of research, the Mayo Clinic stated, “Your life is sort of a tapestry, woven out of your reminiscences of individuals and occasions. Some threads are darkish, whereas others are vibrant. Your particular person tapestry shines vividly in your thoughts, reminding you of who you’re, the place you’ve got been and what you’ve got achieved.
“Alzheimer’s illness steadily robs individuals of the reminiscences that make up their tapestries. You’ll be able to assist mend these holes by making a tangible repository of reminiscences – in a scrapbook, videotape or audiotape.
“Caregivers grow to be the reminiscence for his or her beloved one with Alzheimer’s illness,” says Glenn Smith, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. “By gathering reminiscences, you possibly can convey essential occasions and experiences from your beloved’s previous into the current. You are the hyperlink to his or her life historical past.”*
The necessity to create extra sensible and supportive means to offer psychological stimulation has resulted in a brand new market and the event of latest merchandise to fill that want. New desk prime and hand-held puzzles and different toys have been created and present toys that when entertained younger youngsters, like clear plastic containers full of water and coloured oil that flows by means of a partition like an hourglass have been up to date to be extra applicable for this new market. Every one both offers stimulation for the thoughts or the arms.
One other new line of innovate merchandise are present in therapeutic quilts. One such product, the “contact quilt” is created out of quite a lot of numerous cloths, every with a extremely distinct texture. Textures akin to like corduroy, flannel or terrycloth can interact the nervous arms of an Alzheimer’s sufferer and calm him/her. On the similar time the quilt itself can present heat and luxury to the affected person. Chilly extremities are widespread amongst even the healthiest of seniors, the results of a pure discount in circulation.
A current improvement in therapeutic quilts is the “fidget quilt.” A fidget quilt is smaller than a “contact quilt”, often round 20″ sq., and is especially helpful for Alzheimer’s sufferers who exhibit larger nervous rigidity of their arms. The fidget quilt is adorned with quite a lot of buttons, zippers and different gadgets designed to carry the eye of the Alzheimer’s affected person and may present hours of tactile leisure whereas including the pure consolation that comes from a very good high quality of flannel or different gentle material. Many skilled Alzheimer’s caregivers swear by the effectiveness of the fidget quilt.
The therapeutic photograph reminiscence quilt is yet one more current improvement which is receiving raves evaluations all through the business. Though there are not any common templates for a therapeutic photograph reminiscence quilt, the simplest therapeutically designed photograph reminiscence quilts have giant photographs for straightforward viewing and the photographs are labeled to not solely additional set off the reminiscences in early stage Alzheimer’s sufferers, but in addition to facilitate interplay with skilled caregivers who aren’t conversant in the sufferers household. It is this dialog that considerably enhances the effectiveness of the photographs which have been printed into the material.
The pure benefit of the therapeutic photograph reminiscence quilt over a scrapbook is that it may well present the chance of steady stimulation whereas resting on the sufferers lap or on their mattress and caregivers can make the most of the quilt throughout informal contact with the affected person whereas the scrapbook needs to be delivered to the affected person and requires the lively participation of the caregiver throughout its use. Nor does the scrapbook does not supply the chance for informal use by caregivers throughout routine interactions.
The therapeutic photograph reminiscence quilt may be notably useful outdoors the house in an assisted care facility the place the Alzheimer’s care givers do not often have the time to convey out a scrapbook, lack information of the historical past of the sufferers however work together with the affected person many occasions a day within the regular course of their duties. Every encounter turns into a chance to stimulate the reminiscence by directing the affected person’s consideration to a photograph, figuring out the image and asking the affected person a query about it.
Whereas the brand new toys and puzzles might be substituted with recycled youngsters’s varieties, the grownup variations are often extra ergonomically suited and could be bought at numerous web sites on the web. Contact quilts and fidget quilts might be crafted at house and in some restricted instances, volunteer teams may be discovered stitching them as a charity undertaking. Some expert quilt makers additionally make totally different types of reminiscence quilts for his or her family members which could be tailored for Alzheimer’s sufferers as properly.
*Reference: Mayo Clinic article titled “Alzheimer’s: Mementos assist protect reminiscences.