1. Expert Q&A: Benefits - Weds 23 October, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of benefits. It will be hosted by Lauren from our Knowledge Services team. She'll be answering your questions on Wednesday 23 October between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

  1. emscub

    emscub Registered User

    Dec 5, 2003
    124
    Bath
    Hi all,

    I'm currently writing an essay on the affect of Alzheimer's on the different types of memory and came across something interesting the other day...

    I often notice how people describe their loved ones' stage of Alzheimer's as being able to do this or that still. One of the things that often comes up is making tea. I know in the past that when I've been telling people about my Nan, I've said she can no longer do most things for herself "but she can still make a cup of tea", thinking that this meant she wasn't really too bad.

    The other day while I was researching this essay I found a study which looked specifically at this ability of people with AD to make tea long after they are unable to carry out other tasks. They studied a number of AD patients during the decline of the disease and found that their ability to make tea was only affected very late in the disease and that it did not seem to be a marker of the stage of the disease in terms of the person's other capabilities at all, in that the people being studied could carry out very few other tasks in their lives.

    I've always thought that by telling people my Nan can still make a cup of tea they presume she's far more uptogether than she is and now I've got some support that making a cup of tea doesn't reflect much about the stage of someones AD!
     
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    That's a fascinating thought.

    The marker that made me realise that things were accelerating downhill for my Jan was her sudden inability to write her own name. That's an awful shocker, and I initially thought I could train her to be able to write it again.

    I couldn't.

    I never spotted the tea thing though.

    By the way, what is your essay for? Are you studying this subject?
     
  3. emscub

    emscub Registered User

    Dec 5, 2003
    124
    Bath
    Hi Bruce,

    The essay's for a cognitive psychology course I'm studying as part of my degree - studying psychology and education. I'm also carrying out a qualitative study of carers feelings towards their role during the next few weeks, and an assessment of citizenship in the community relating to the care of elderly people - looking at organisations set up to help like Crossroads.

    Emma
     
  4. John Bottomley

    John Bottomley Registered User

    Apr 7, 2004
    30
    People have good evidence now over the last 7 years, from both UK and Scandanavia, that some things are better preserved than others.

    One school of thought in 1997 compelling talks of using markers with 'ecological validity' rather than abstract ideas. What they meant was that things like a test of short term memory's registration and recall of new things could better be done by asking them what happened on Eastenders last night, than giving them 3 random things to remember minutes later. It's testing the same brain processes, but is much more accessible. Showing concentration through them being able to read a newspaper or tell you what's heppening in a book or on the news could be done rather than subtracting 7's from 100 (or spelling world backwards).

    As well as working in ways that is more in keeping with a person's real world way of working (hence the term ecological validity), it's thrown up ideas that people retain more meaningful or personally used processes better than abstract/generalisable skills.

    This does rather hearteningly suggest that treasured core beliefs (or internal 'schema' in your Beck's psychology speak!) are well preserved . . . so things like appreciating the touch or voice or proximity of a loved one is likely to last long after their ability to articulate gratitude is lost.
     

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