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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Caregivers and Companionship for People with Alzheimer's and Dementia

A program in Chicago, Illinois in an article on CNN provided an enriched environment for people with early stage Alzheimer's by pairing them up as "buddies" with Alzheimer's scientists. The people with Alzheimer's shared discussions, trips, visits to museums, just visiting and talking, and going to local activities.

The article is titled "Program Pairs Alzheimer's Scientists With Patients."

Caregivers who assist someone who has Alzheimer's or Dementia can get activity ideas from the article. Having a "buddy system" provided people with companionship and interaction while sharing activities.

The program was at Northwestern University, but the University of Chicago had a similiar "buddy system" program.

Companionship and shared activities are ways to make life more pleasant and rewarding for someone who has Alzheimer's. Becoming passive, losing interest and being isolated are some of the behaviors that can occur. An enthusiastic caregiver can help by being a buddy for someone and encouraging activities.

The goal was to see if providing social support, mental stimulation, and education would provide "indirect therapy" that would help people with Alzheimer's remain independent longer.

The article provides additional support for the idea that activities and companionship are important for people who have Alzheimer's or Dementia.

Doing crossword puzzles, taking classes and using memory stimulation programs were some of the other activities mentioned in the article that might help those diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's.

Caregivers, Adult Day Care, Personal Care Aides, and others who interact with a person who has Alzheimer's can use this information by being "buddies" and companions.

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