Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Alzheimer's Patients Still Feel for Loved Ones Even if They Don’t Recognize Them

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a day when we celebrate love. In a recent discussion, Gloria K., a client whose mother has Alzheimer’s, told us that although her mother doesn’t remember much, she could tell her mother is still happy to see her and her granddaughter. After our conversation and some research, I found studies that show that emotions actually do outlast memories, and that patients with Alzheimer’s still get a warm feeling from seeing friends and relatives.

A recent study was done at The University of Iowa, offering good news for caregivers and loved ones of individuals with Alzheimer's disease who may feel they are having no effect. The effect is actually so strong that the scientists are convinced that regularly meeting up with patients with Alzheimer's can profoundly improve their mood.

Justin Feinstein, the lead author and a neuroscience and psychology researcher, said that a "simple visit or phone call from family members might have a lingering positive influence on a patient's happiness even though the patient may quickly forget the visit or phone call.”

Alzheimer’s patients might forget a joke or a meaningful conversation – but even so, the warm feelings associated with the experience can stick around and boost their mood. So, be sure to show your loved ones with Alzheimer’s lots of love – not just on Valentine’s day but throughout the year!

Evan H. Farr is a Certified Elder Law Attorney with a focus on the financial and legal issues surrounding Alzheimer’s disease. At the Fairfax Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, our Alzheimer’s Planning Team provides life-long guidance, management, and oversight on vital issues such as medical and nursing care, housing options, financial management, estate planning, asset protection, Medicaid eligibility, and more.  Call us at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation.

1 comment:

  1. While Alzheimer's patients suffer from increasing short-term memory loss, they often still retain much of their long-term memory. One of the best ways to engage with Alzheimer's sufferers in the early to middle stages is to ask them to tell you stories from their past. It is enjoyable and calming for them and usually very interesting for the listener.

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