Dr.Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC
With a new year, comes new innovations in the healthcare industry. The New York Times reports that recent research is stressing the importance of caregiving to those with Alzheimer’s. With no effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, dementia therapy is the caregiving performed by families, or at nursing homes.
“There’s actually better evidence and more significant results in caregiver interventions than there is in anything to treat this disease so far,” says Lisa P. Gwyther, education director for the Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Duke University.
Research suggests that creating positive emotional experiences for Alzheimer’s patients reduces distress and behavior problems. Emotions exist even after cognition deteriorates, so changing things like food, art, exercise, or the aesthetics of a room can generate positive emotions. The Journal of the American Medical Association found that brightening lights in dementia facilities decreased depression and cognitive deterioration.
Additionally, the research is stressing the importance of a caregiver’s emotional state, so much that agencies are developing programs to provide caregivers with education and emotional support. This type of support is not only beneficial to the caregivers themselves, but to their patients as well.
Home Care Assistance similarly stresses the importance of emotional support to both the patient and the caregiver. This type of innovative research is an exciting start to 2011. Hopefully we will continue to see even greater breakthroughs in the treatment of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.