Focus training may help Alzheimer patients and caregivers - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Focus training may help Alzheimer patients and caregivers

Amarillo, TX - There's a new proven method to enhance the quality of life of those affected by Alzheimer's and dementia.

There's no cure however there are some things we can do to make these patients live's better.

It's becoming a rising trend, and not one we can ignore much longer. Alzheimer's and dementia is taking the lives of people as young as 27 years of age.

Allison Henry, Alzheimer's Association committee member, said her mother-in-law died from the disease and it took a toll on everyone involved, and still does to this day.

"You hate to see them go through that, and it hurts to see them go through that and then you think in your mind, what if that's my husband, what if that happens to him... and it gets hard," Henry said.

Researchers are working frantically to find ways to make this disease easier on everyone. Tracy Sommers, Alzheimer's Association area director, said although there's not a cure for Alzheimer's, there are things that we can do to help the person with dementia and Alzheimer's stay active.

"Keep them social, keep them engaged as much as possible, learn about different ways that we can all stay healthy because we want to keep our heart healthy, we want to keep our brain healthy," Sommers said.

A recently proven study says patients and caregivers who practiced "Mindfulness Training" saw an improvement in depression, sleep quality and their overall quality of life.

"This mindfulness study that we talked about, it's huge and I think that's a big deal for people to understand and to keep your brain alive, and be present in the moment and not think about things that are in the past, or think about the things you can change, but keep current, you know...games and activities for your mind to keep current to keep what you're doing right now," Henry said.

The training places both the patient and caregiver in the present and focuses on positive interaction. This creates a connection that may replace a more complex way of communicating. Patients and their caregivers were able to experience positive results, which is a rarity for many involved with this disease.

The study was published in the American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, which states both caregivers and patients who participated in the eight-week mindfulness training program showed improvements.

Researchers examined 37 people, including 29 people who were involved in a patient-caregiver relationship.

Henry encourages anyone struggling to understand the loss of a loved one to this disease to reach out to a local organization.You can visit alz.org for more information on anything related to Alzheimer's and dementia.

Also be sure to look out for the upcoming Alzheimer's Association walk benefiting a development for a cure.
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