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Theatre as Therapy for Alzheimer's and Memory Loss

Although we remain limited in our options for treating patients with memory loss and Alzheimer's, there are a variety of non-pharmacologic treatmen...
  • Overview

    Although we remain limited in our options for treating patients with memory loss and Alzheimer's, there are a variety of non-pharmacologic treatments that are showing some promise. Mary O'Hara, social worker at Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Christine Dunford, cultural anthropologist, ensemble member of Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre, and founding teaching artist with the Chicago Arts Partners in Education (CAPE) program, facilitate an improvisational acting workshop called the Memory Ensemble for patients with Alzheimer's and memory loss. One of improv's principles emphasizes being "in the moment," which can be particularly therapeutic for patients with memory loss. How has the Memory Ensemble program been designed to be both challenging and supportive, and what are some of the program's benefits? What other types of creative programs might have a similar effect on improving the quality of life, as well as building confidence and coping mechanisms for these patients? Hosted by Dr. Eric Tangalos.

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