UCLA Memory Program Offers ‘Gym For Your Brain’

The Washington Post:

Just as they had so many times during the past 60 years, Marianna and Albert Frankel stepped onto the dance floor. He took her hand in his, and smiling, waltzed her around the room.

“I remembered how it used to be and we could really do the waltz and he would whirl me around until I got dizzy,” said Marianna Frankel, 82, who is 10 years younger than her husband.

Memory loss can have profound impact on patients, leading to an erosion of independence, a sense of helplessness and depression. Yet in some ways, it can affect their caregivers more.  It’s hard to be the only one who can remember shared times.

“It is extremely stressful for the spouse,” said Barry Gordon, professor of neurology and cognitive science at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “It is like taking care of a child … and it never stops.”

That’s where the UCLA Longevity Center comes in –helping both patients and caregivers live with diseases that fray their bond of shared memories. In addition to giving those with memory loss techniques to improve recall, the program also helps the caregivers better understand the disease and provides them with a place to connect with others facing similar challenges.

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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