Center fights dementia using reminiscence therapy

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The Glenner Center fights dementia through reminiscence therapy

Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Center in San Diego has introduced some new equipment to help patients fight dementia — including a 1959 Ford Thunderbird in mint condition. The new project was based on tapping into the long-term memories of dementia patients.

CGTN’s May Lee reports.

Center fights dementia using reminiscence therapy

Center fights dementia using reminiscence therapy

Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Center in San Diego has introduced some new equipment to help patients fight dementia — including a 1959 Ford Thunderbird in mint condition. The new project was based on tapping into the long-term memories of dementia patients. CGTN’s May Lee reports.
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The project is titled Town Square, a full-scale, fully functional 1950s village set to open in 2018, where patients and their families can spend their days shopping, dining, and even going to classic movies.

“When we designed Town Square we talked about the ages of 18-35 being the area or those ages we wanted to engage with and based on the backwards math, our participants are in their early 80s, they would have been 18-35 in the early to mid 50s to late 50s,” CEO of Glenner Center Scott Tarde said.

In order to be as authentic as possible, the Glenner Center is always on the hunt for items from the 1950s and 60s like this jukebox that still plays all the reminiscent oldies.

As for the 25 structures in Town Square, they’re being built by the San Diego Opera design team.

The center said this is just the beginning and the plan is to open Town Squares across the U.S. and overseas to meet the explosive need for dementia care.

Daniel Sewell, a physician who specializes in geriatric psychiatry, believes drug-free treatments like reminiscence therapy help preserve what memory patients still have.

“It also helps them strengthen those memories that still exist while also helping them feel acknowledged, building their self-esteem and really helping them have a quality of life that they might not otherwise be able to experience,” Sewell said.