I met Ruth in June of 2016. Her daughter, Susan, had asked if I could help her 85 year old mother who had been diagnosed with late stage Alzheimer’s. My first thought after meeting Ruth was, “This is definitely going to be a challenge.” The problems we faced were daunting; Ruth couldn’t communicate intelligently. She repeated things over and over. She had obsessive-compulsive behaviors, was verbally abusive to Susan, had severe Sun Downing, displayed socially unacceptable behaviors, and had total disregard for her appearance. Ruth had been an elementary school teacher, but she could no longer read, write, or do even basic math. She apparently had very little memory, attention, or comprehension left.
My program for Ruth was intensive at first. We worked five days a week for two hours a day. The protocol I used included physical exercises, basic education training, and Play Attention to address memory, focus, and comprehension in a more specific manner. After six weeks of therapy, Ruth had progressed to a point that we could adjust her schedule to three days per week for one and a half hours a day.
While Ruth sometimes tired of the physical and educational aspects of the protocol, she loves Play Attention! Play Attention gave her a sense of personal control, independence, and confidence she so desperately needed. The skills and emotional support she gained from Play Attention provided the foundation upon which the other elements of her therapy developed. Ruth regained much of her old personality and many of her functional skills.
Ruth can now communicate well and receives phone calls from family and friends. Her gross and fine motor skills have improved, and she’s become an avid walker. She is able to read, write, and do math on a functional level.
Susan, her daughter, says Ruth is much calmer, her Sun Downing has lessened greatly, and her obsessive-compulsive behaviors have mostly stopped. Perhaps, what’s most important is what Ruth has to say for herself, “I can think and communicate more clearly now. Before therapy, my thoughts were not garbled in my mind, I just couldn’t get them out of my mouth right. My anger and frustration came from not being able to express myself correctly, but now I can. Nancy got rid of the fog in my brain.”
With the aid of Play Attention and other therapies, I have been able to improve the quality of life for my Alzheimer’s clients and their families while we wait for the development of effective drugs to treat this terrible disease. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.