According to Alz.org, 1 in 3 seniors in the United States will develop Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Alzheimer’s is particularly scary for Utahns. Utah is projected to have the highest per capita increase of Alzheimer’s among all states—a 127 percent increase by 2025.
If you’re reading this, chances are you know someone affected by Alzheimer’s, and you may be wondering if there is anyway to slow or stop this disease that is harming your loved one.
Until recently the answer was no. However a study presented in March of 2012 found that Cognitive Stimulation Therapy or CST can slow the disease. The study suggests that Cognitive Stimulation Therapy appears to be as effective as dementia drugs like Aricept.
In the study seniors with Alzheimer’s were exposed to twice-weekly CST sessions and periodic testing over the course of six months and were compared to a control group of seniors who did not receive Cognitive Stimulation Therapy. By the end of the study the seniors receiving the CST had improved their scores on the cognitive tests compared to the seniors who had not received CST. The seniors and their families also reported a higher quality of life because of the Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (cstdementia.org).
CST helps jump start the minds of those with Alzheimer’s by stimulating their intellects with mentally invigorating group activities. Several times a week participants are encouraged to focus on a general theme, such as food, current affairs, or using money. The activities are designed to be enjoyable and cognitively challenge the patients. Cognitive Stimulation Therapy can be done by anyone who works with people with dementia, including care workers, nurses, occupational therapists and even family members (Favo).
Aspen Senior Center uses a form of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy called Cognasium (gymnasium for the mind). To learn more about the Cognasium approach you can visit our blog post on the subject. For additional information on Cognitive Stimulation Therapy you can visit the website http://www.cstdementia.com.
Favo, Maurizo. What’s Secondary Dementia…Antidepressants and Medical Problems…Cognitive Stimulation Therapy For AD. Ask The Doctor. Mind, Mood & Memory. Massachusetts General Hospital. October, 2012.