So just how does a drawing, writing poetry, or playing the violin, help seniors function better and improve their memories? TTAP facilitates the development, maintenance, and expression of an appropriate lifestyle for individuals with limitations (illness, disabilities, aging). It provides opportunities for all seven styles of learning (the world player, the questioner, the visualizer, the music lover, the mover, the socializer, and the individual) and simultaneously stimulates all areas of the brain.
Theme programming is a process that facilitates creative thinking, then brainstorming, and finally implementation. The client’s input is significant: it gives the individual an opportunity within a group to express individual thinking, and it promotes interaction with others and sharing of one’s self. This technique enhances participation, allows for individualization, and maximizes self-esteem.
My research demonstrates what had been hypothesized, that memory processing at the neuronal level of the hippocampus takes place only in the presence of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. With cerebral cell loss and a decrease in the amount of acetylcholine in and around the hippocampus as a result of the aging of the brain, individuals experience loss of memory and their memory functions are dramatically compromised.
There are 11 areas of the brain, each needing to be stimulated. Brain research indicates that the brain can make new cells when stimulated and that the brain can be stimulated in three different areas: the effective system, the strategic system, and the recognition system.
If the brain receives continued stimulation through activities that range from crossword puzzles to chess to painting to dance to music to reading, then cell growth is fostered, thereby keeping the brain connections alive, flowing, and multiplying. Understanding the geography of the brain allows the specific regions that respond to specific stimulation to be identified and used for the implementation of specific activities.
Facts & Statistics on Alzheimer’s Disease
- Science has struggled in the face of a looming disease; 15 years ago 500,000 people had the disease. Today, 5,000,000 individuals have been diagnosed.
- Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease that attacks the brain and results in impaired memory, thinking, language and behavior. It is a specific organic condition that develops in only some human brains. It is not senility. It is not part of the normal aging process.. Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects memory, judgment and social function.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, responsible for 70% of the cases.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the 4th leading cause of death in adults in the U.S. after heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the 3rd most expensive disease to treat after heart disease and cancer.
- The National Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 6 million individuals will be afflicted by 2010 and 8.7 million by the year 2030. U.S. Census Bureau estimates that by the year 2050, 15 million individuals will have AD.
- In the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the brain shrinks and the individual becomes more withdrawn. Personality changes include anger and fear. Confusion increases and speaking turns to silence. They become more reliant on nursing staff; swallowing and breathing shut down.
- According to U.S. Census projections, by the year 2010 the population of older adults, those over 65 years of age, will grow to a total of 86,705,000, accounting for nearly 30% of all Americans.
- Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that, in its most common form, is found in people over the age of 65. Approximately 24 million people worldwide have dementia. The National Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 18,000 nursing homes will care for an estimated 3.2 million clients with dementia by the year 2010.
- As our population tends to live longer – well into the 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s– it is quite clear that the number of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s will grow, creating a strain on our ability to provide adequate care.
For more information on the TTAP Method, visit www.ttapmethod.com
Linda Levine Madori, Ph.D author of Therapeutic Thematic Arts Programming for Older Adults, has worked in the field of Health Care as a therapist, teacher, advisor, researcher, supervisor and innovator of new methodology with regard to providing programming to the older population and specifically those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.