One of the ways that some people in fighting Alzheimer’s disease in Britain is through the use of poetry and experts are seeing some pretty amazing results. One retirement home that is located in Central England is one of many places across the country where Alzheimer’s patients are read poetry from the staff and volunteers there, hoping that they will have some kind of recognition or memory of the poems. This is a great way to do it, and probably even works on song lyrics, because many people store lyrics and poetry better than they do other types of information. This might just allow Alzheimer’s patients to access memories that they didn’t even remember that they had.
Some of the results of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are loss of memory and no ability to communicate or do basic things. However, poetry is helping patients to remember things, and while experts caution that this is not a cure, the rhythm of a poem or a song or familiar lyrics can help to trigger other memories, as well as help with speech. A charity called “Kissing it Better” is helping with volunteers to read poetry to these patients and is allowing many people to get some relief from the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. “I did know the poem but I’ve forgotten it. I learnt it when I was a kid at school, a long time ago,” said Miriam Cowley, a retired teacher, who suffers from short-term memory loss.
Retirement homes and the like often have to be places of sadness. Alzheimer’s Disease is called “The Long Goodbye” because loved ones of the person that is suffering from Alzheimer’s often have to deal with a very slow decline of the person’s mental faculties until they do not know them at all, and the disease makes them someone that they are not. However, volunteers that have spent time reading poetry to these patients say that they enjoy it. One teen said, “it gives you a real buzz.”