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Article: "Trip to the beach sparks memories in dementia patients"

1/19/2018 11:24:24 AM

Activities, such as dancing, and trips to places like the beach might help people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's recall early memories according to a recent article, "Trip to the beach sparks memories in dementia patients" (October 8, 2017), that was published on the Bucks County Courier Times website.


"There's no cure, but treatments and therapies can sometimes slow the progression -- and in some cases - help tap into patients' memories, doctors and therapists say.  Sensory experiences, trips, music, and interactions with children and animals can spark animated and emotional reactions for a short period of time."


The article primarily follows an 89-year-old woman's trip to the beach, which brings back a number of childhood memories for the dementia patient.  Her granddaughter is quoted as saying, "She remembers her childhood more than she remembers yesterday....Here, she feels connected to the water, people and me."


"Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, chair of the Department of Neurology of Pennsylvania Hospital, wasn't surprised to hear a trip to the beach tapped into the early memories for some residents with dementia.  He said Swan was likely experiencing sensations that triggered emotional memories.  When people have dementia, Chatterjee said, the brain systems that control motor skills and the senses are 'relatively preserved until late in the disease.'


'What that means is that you can have people engaged in activities -- being at a beach or a garden or looking at art -- that still gives them pleasure, and they (experiences) can trigger those long-term memories,' he said."


Later in the article, it is elaborated that, "Producing art, nurturing a child or digging in a garden can bring out basic impulses that tend to be preserved longer in the brain than other abilities."


The entire article can be read here.  The advice included throughout it could help anyone with a loved one suffering from severe memory loss.

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