What are some nonmedical interventions to comfort Alzheimer’s patients?

What are some nonmedical interventions to comfort Alzheimer’s patients?

As an amateur caregiver, you can perform a ton of nonmedical interventions to comfort Alzheimer’s patients and make life easy for them.

By getting them to live the life that they wished they would be living if they were healthy like everyone else, you make them feel one of your own and make your intent clear that you will be there for them no matter what.

Understanding what they are going through, stepping in their shoes by seeing the world as they see and tons and tons of compassion for a loved one are some of the nature given strengths you have at your disposal.  

The environment you maintain at home will directly influence their mood and behavior—a friendly, happy and carefree environment will create a feeling of well being in them. A person feels loved when they are being unconditionally accepted for who they are. Their strengths, shortcomings, and fate are something they carry with them all the time.

Presence of unsupportive family members can make them feel like an outsider and break their will to live.

Let’s have a look at some nonmedical interventions to comfort Alzheimer’s patients and make their life a bit easy.

Listening To Favorite Songs

Several studies have shown that listening to music can lower stress and increase cognitive ability in AD patients.
Several studies have shown that listening to music can lower stress and increase cognitive ability in AD patients. Music surely can be one of the most effective nonmedical interventions to comfort Alzheimer’s patients.

Simulations of a structural model of the prefrontal cortex(PFC) by Mr. Shaw from University of California predicted that music might enhance spatial-temporal reasoning(ability to visualize dynamically changing objects. Eg: form a blueprint of an architectural structure).[1]

Another study by Eva M. Arroyo-Anlló, University of Salamanca, Spain tells us that listening to familiar music can enhance self-consciousness in AD patients.

Forty native Spanish AD patients were chosen for this study,  they were divided into two matched groups, according to age, gender, and educational level. One random group was made to listen to familiar Spanish songs and another one to new unheard songs. The group listening to familiar songs had a slightly higher self-consciousness score in the test taken after they listened to those songs for several days. [2]

Singing Training Improves Psychomotor Speed

Singing training improves the neural efficacy of cognitive processing in AD patients.

In a study done by Mie University, Tsu, Japan, 10 AD patients took part in music therapy using singing training once a week for six months. Each individual participating in this singing training was assessed by neuropsychological batteries, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they sang the song.

After six months of training, the time taken by each individual to finish Japanese Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices(a multiple choice question test to measure a test taker’s reasoning ability ) was reduced considerably.[3]

Playing Background Music At Home

We tend to remember the music playing in the background during all important life events happened in the past— high school graduation ceremony, first time at the water park, the day you got really sick etc— background music can recall all sorts of past experiences—good and bad.

But what does it have to with comforting Alzheimer’s patient?

A study was done by Mercer’s Institute for Research on Ageing, Dublin, Ireland to understand the effect of music on autobiographical memory(a collection of episodes from a person’s past experiences) of Alzheimer’s disease patients.   

Each AD patient participating in this study was interviewed to test his autobiographical memory two times— once when he listened to music(‘The four seasons’ by Vivaldi)   and another time with no music.

Results of the interviews suggested a significant reduction in the state of anxiety of the AD patient when interviewing during the music playing in the background. Because of this reduction in anxiety, they were able to perform well in the interview and could recall past life events with greater accuracy than when interviewing without background music.  [4]

Conclusion :

I know some of the nonmedical interventions to comfort Alzheimer’s patients mentioned above are not full proof and won’t cure the disease completely, but it’s imperative to try everything that is proven by research.

Medical professionals take great pains to conduct such studies and millions of dollars are spent every year for research on Alzheimer’s disease.

In the year 2018, United States spent estimated $277 billion on Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias.[5]

It seems like a lot of work first, but you will feel encouraged with every improvement your loved one shows by implementing the above-mentioned methods.


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