‘Brain Games’ & Other Potential Cognitive Boosters
Last December, I attended a seminar presented by Peter R. Johnson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, and it was fantastic! He has been working with assessing and intervening with cognitive impairments for years, and yes, really ‘knows his stuff’! And there is a growing body of evidence and research (see one such example here: http://dementia.ie/images/uploads/site-images/02.L.Clare.pdf) regarding cognitive rehabilitation exercises and other approaches to stabilize or possibly (?) improve cognition for some. This has historically been implemented most with stroke survivors and TBI patients but is increasingly used with folks who have dementia.
Check out some great computer-based and applications on phones: http://www.mindmate-app.com/, https://www.lumosity.com/, http://www.allstarpuzzles.com/, http://www.fitbrains.com/brain-fitness/, and Chain of Thought app. I use this latter with a client and among other things, it boosts his focus.
We discussed the role of medications, in particular, the commonly-prescribed Aricept and how often it is neither prescribed at the therapeutic dose, which is 15-20mg, nor titrated up every 7 days. I usually see people on a static 10mg. Here is a link to an article by Peter re meds and cognition: https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/html/10.1055/s-0033-1337391. Anesthesia is another factor that impacts memory and other cognitive functions.
We moved then to interventions, ranging from vitamins to diet to reminiscence therapy to sensory stimulation. A client’s neurologist recently told them that as important as cognitive exercise/stimulation is SOCIALIZATION! Peter recommends implementing Montessori-based principles and using emotion to capture attention.
Look into neural plasticity (new connections in the brain): one example is to use your non-dominant hand to complete safe tasks or driving a new route to a familiar locale. Also helpful are environmental adaptations (reduce background noise), avoid over-stimulation/distractions; use a colored toilet seat to decrease toileting accidents/misses/avoidance. Did you know lime green is the color that’s retained the longest by folks with dementia??
Certainly there are many variables involved with cognitive impairment and interventions. Not all strategies will work with all afflicted but if nothing else, it is fun to engage/interact/connect and watch people’s joy when they feel successful!
Take good care~ Suzannah