Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Alzheimer's therapy aims to improve quality of life

As an Activities Director, other healthcare professional or caregiver of someone with Alzheimer's disease or another dementia, this article may be of interest to you

By KAREN LOVETT, Staff Writer

NASHUA – Anita Hinkle spoke softly into the ear of the woman, who was curled in a chair.

"Come siete?" Hinkle whispered in Italian. How are you?

Then, in English, "You look beautiful today."

Virginia Lorah didn't budge. Her 70-pound frame kept coiled. Her eyes stayed squeezed. She gripped her shins, slender as fence posts.

No response.

Hinkle smiled, unfazed by the silence. After all, she hadn't held a real conversation with Lorah in about three years, even though the 98-year-old woman is her mother.

Some 12 years ago, Lorah was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Slowly, the progressive brain disease robbed her of the ability to remember almost anything.

The last time the pair carried on a conversation, three years ago, Lorah's scattered memories had taken root in her teenage years.

Every so often, she would blurt about Bristol, Pa., the Philadelphia suburb where Lorah grew up in the early 1900s.

She'd ask about the whereabouts of her long-deceased father, a first-generation Italian-American who helped other immigrants with their naturalization paperwork. Hinkle would try to explain.

" 'They've gone to heaven,' " she would tell her mother. " 'They're waiting for you.' She'd say, 'Oh, no. No, no no.' "

Now, Lorah cannot......read the whole article

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