Storytelling, senior alert system can have beneficial effect for dementia patients

kevin_magna

March 1, 2011

Seniors who often have dementia are prescribed drugs and medical services that can cost families a lot of money. However, researchers from the University of Missouri have found that telling a "creative storytelling intervention" may prove to be an effective treatment for the disease as well.

The focus of the study was participation in TimeSlips, a national program for dementia patients that encourages the creation of stories through stimuli. Images are presented to these individuals. Facilitators then record patient reactions and create a narrative.

"TimeSlips provides rich, engaging opportunities for persons with dementia to interact with others while exercising their individual strengths," said Lorraine Phillips, assistant professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing. "It encourages participants to be actively involved and to experience moments of recognition, creation and celebration."

This suggests that caregivers may want to attempt this storytelling treatment on their own or seek services that do something similar.

One way to help ensure that a dementia patient is safe at home is by installing a senior alert system. This device allows older users to instantly send a medical alert to caregivers if they require assistance.

Philips explained that storytelling was an appropriate method of treatment for patients who had mild to moderate dementia.