Health Watch - Seniors: Visiting Alzheimer's Patients

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about concerns related to aging. Previously, we talked about arranging the home so patients with Alzheimer’s disease can live more independently and function better. You can also help Alzheimer’s disease patients and their caretakers by visiting, as long as you keep a few guidelines in mind.

Peggy Higgins, who works with Alzheimer’s patients and their families at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says visits are usually appreciated, but call ahead to plan your visit instead of arriving unannounced. Limit your visit to about an hour, but try to visit regularly. With the caretaker’s permission, you can bring a sorting project to entertain the patient — something like sorting scraps of cloth or buttons. Or you could bring old photographs or music from the patient’s youth. Alzheimer’s patients often have stronger memories of the long-ago past than they do of recent times.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/geriatrics to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in geriatrics.

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September 2009


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