A workout for the brain
July 9, 2009 · 2:37 PM
Abiding HomeCare now offers new memory program
to local seniors.
By RACHEL BRANT
Failing to lock doors, neglec-ting appointments, even forgetting the date can cause seniors and their families to panic.
“I can’t statistically tell you it’s the No. 1 fear of seniors, but it’s high,” said Abiding HomeCare Executive Director Randy Hardin.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease affect a large portion of the population and Abiding HomeCare in Silverdale now offers a program to help slow the progression of memory loss.
The Ashby Memory Method has only been prevalent in the United States for a few years and Abiding HomeCare is offering the brain health program to local seniors.
“Certainly you won’t see anyone else in Kitsap County offering it,” Hardin said.
The Ashby Memory Method is a non-drug treatment option that forces seniors to regularly use brain and memory functions, thus slowing the emergence of new symptoms and the progression of dementia.
The brain fitness program is appropriate for seniors with mild cognitive impairment, early to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and other types of dementia.
Dr. Mira Ashby, of Canada, created the method to treat her own form of progressive dementia. Her son, John Ashby, eventually used the Ashby Memory Method on his mother to better her quality of life.
“It was very successful,” Hardin said. “Her son used her method to help slow her decline.”
The Ashby Memory Method, formally known as the cognitive retention method, begins with a screening. Certified Abiding HomeCare professionals first question family members about a senior’s typical behavior. Seniors are then asked a series of questions to test their memories, accumulating points along the way. If a senior scores below a 26 out of 30 points, he or she is referred to a doctor for diagnosis.
“The assessment is free, so it doesn’t cost anybody anything to do that part of it,” Hardin said.
If a senior then chooses to go forward with the Ashby Memory Method, certified professionals will get to know the individual’s likes and memories and incorporate them into their weekly sessions.
“I think what’s unique about this is it’s not a cookie-cutter approach. It focuses on the likes of the person,” Hardin said. “So what you’re doing is stimulating the brain to memories specific to them.”
Abiding HomeCare professionals meet with Ashby Memory Method clients for one hour, twice a week. Various booklets are used during the eight-week program. If clients enjoy the program, they can participate even longer than eight weeks.
“You can go as long as it continues to help them,” Abiding HomeCare Programs Director Carrie Mulcahy said. “We’ll keep going as long as it helps them.”
“Hopefully these people start looking forward to these visits,” Hardin added.
Patients are re-screened after three months to check for signs that memory loss has slowed.
“It’s not a cure, there is no such thing as a cure, but it does make a difference,” Hardin said.