Phony bus stops help dementia patients

June 7, 2008 at 3:13 PM
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HAMBURG, Germany, June 7 (UPI) -- German caregivers have a new way to ease the anxieties of dementia patients: fake bus stops that seem to soothe their feelings they need to be somewhere.

Staff at old peoples' homes will construct a phony bus stop on the grounds and direct dementia patients to them when they are agitated because they think they're late for an appointment or need to get home because they left the oven on while cooking dinner for their long-dead spouses, Deutsche Welle reported Saturday.

"The sense that they have the freedom to do what they feel they need to do is very soothing to patients," Sabine Gruenwald of the Muehlenau Residence in Hamburg told the network. Gruenwald introduced the bus stop scheme there last summer, and now several other homes have them also, including a home in Remsheid, which even fits it out with period-piece advertisements and timetables.

Dementia and Alzheimer's disease affects short-term memory, experts say, but can leave intact long-term memory caregivers can use this to help patients feel more relaxed.

"We're planning on redesigning the bus-stop in a 1960s look," Gruenwald told Deutsche Welle.

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