Giving Alzheimer’s Patients Their Way, Even Chocolate

On this second day of 2011:

The New York Times has another excellent article in their ongoing series-The Vanishing Mind: Giving Alzheimer’s Patients Their Way, Even Chocolate.

The focus of the article is the Beatitudes Campus.  Their unique approach to treating Alzheimer’s patients is receiving deserved attention. More information on this organization can be found on their website:

Alzheimer’s is an enslaving malady which shows no mercy.  Social status means nothing to this insidious mind stealer. 

People affected by Alzheimer’s on this planet traversing the cosmos are ever increasing.  Warehousing them like the old days is the worst possible treatment.

They deserve to be treated with respect.  Their dignity should not be insulted or abused.

Here are some quotes from the article:

Dementia patients at Beatitudes are allowed practically anything that brings comfort, even an alcoholic “nip at night,” said Tena Alonzo, director of research. “Whatever your vice is, we’re your folks,” she said.

Once, Ms. Alonzo said: “The state tried to cite us for having chocolate on the nursing chart. They were like, ‘It’s not a medication.’ Yes, it is. It’s better than Xanax.”

It is an unusual posture for a nursing home, but Beatitudes is actually following some of the latest science. Research suggests that creating positive emotional experiences for Alzheimer’s patients diminishes distress and behavior problems.

A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that brightening lights in dementia facilities decreased depression, cognitive deterioration and loss of functional abilities. Increased light bolsters circadian rhythms and helps patients see better so they can be more active, said Elizabeth C. Brawley, a dementia care design expert not involved in the study, adding, “If I could change one thing in these places it would be the lighting.”

“It’s good to know,” Ms. Nance said, “that somebody knows that you care.”

In summary:

Alzheimer’s patients are real people.  They have lived a long time on this planet.  Their collective experiences reveal slices of life which affected their communities and in many cases the global village.

Their remaining years should be as full and joyful as possible.  When their life journey is over, may they have truly experienced a caring environment like the Beatitudes.

For these individuals are our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, colleagues, friends, neighbours, and fellow travellers on this planet.  Their journey is our journey.  Their eventual fate is our fate on the shores of eternity. 

G. D. Williams       © 2011