Excellent story in yesterday’s New York Times on comfort for Alzheimer’s patients. At one Phoenix nursing home, non-drug therapies like companion baby dolls and unlimited chocolate help calm individuals suffering from dementia and its terrifying complications.
I know — hardly sounds newsworthy enough for the front page of the Times. But these ‘therapies’ reduce the amount of sedative and anti-psychotic medication administered, meaning better quality of life for patients, at lower cost and with fewer side effects. In other words, if chocolate was a new experimental drug, people would be frantic to have access.
Not unlike chocolate and dolls is the therapeutic benefit of having a dog — in 2009 researchers at the University of Missouri found that elderly folks assigned to walk a dog twice a week were often able to give up canes and walkers, because overall fitness improved so dramatically. Good food for thought as we all contemplate new year’s resolutions.