Jan 10, 2011

Shaping the environment

"With virtually no effective medical treatment for Alzheimer’s yet, most dementia therapy is the caregiving performed by families and nursing homes. Some 11 million people care for Alzheimer’s-afflicted relatives at home. In nursing homes, two-thirds of residents have some dementia." NY Times.

We are not alone, obviously. The numbers are staggering, and will likely increase. So, it is important that we consider everything we can to make the best of this situation. For the next few days I want to consider specific aspects of helping us cope with the task of caregiving.

Today I want us to consider again behavior modification. The article in the NY Times said the staff at Beatitudes in Phoenix, Arizona, stand near elevator doors when they open and distract patients with dementia so that they do not enter the elevators. This is behavior modification: techniques which shape the environment to get the behavior most optimal. More on this tomorrow.

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