Paul Raia, vice president for patient care and family support at the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Alzheimer’s Association says the most significant developments in memory care have been on the care side, rather than pharmaceutical approaches. Given the proper tools, it can be managed and the lifespan of a person can increase. “The focus now is teaching techniques and giving support to people, By doing this, we can help avoid problematic symptoms that occur in the later stages of the disease. Looking down the horizon, we want to be able to help people maintain Alzheimer’s in the earlier stages.”
As a way to help patients and caregivers deal with the disease, Raia developed a concept called “Habilitation Therapy.” He says this makes it possible for Alzheimer’s patients to deal with their emotions and maximize whatever mental capabilities they still possess. Not to be confused with the word “re-habilitation,” Raia is aware that this isn’t a therapy that can restore people, but give them an opportunity to lead a longer and more productive life.