Life-changing therapy for Alzheimer's patients - WNEM TV 5

Life-changing therapy for Alzheimer's patients

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Families across the country are going purple for Alzheimer's Awareness Month.

Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and there is no known cure.

"It was really a confirmation of what we already knew," said Susan Putnam, talking about the moment she learned her mother had Alzheimer's. "We had noticed you know, memory loss. Especially short-term memory loss even before that. And that was when we decided to go and actually get a diagnosis."

Putnam's mom Bonnie is a client at Seasons Adult Day Health Services in Midland. Putnam said the therapy her mom has received there has made all the difference in managing her mother's condition the last four years.

"She gets to be with other people, socialize," Putnam said.

Erin Wallace is the program manager for the activity based center. She said everything they do there has a purpose and a reason. She encourages families dealing with any type of dementia to consider the therapeutic program they offer.

"If someone is wanting to age in place, which a lot of society does now, this is a great way to really help both the individual and the caregiver make that happen," Wallace said.

Currently there is no cure for the disease. Experts said the only way to change that fact is to increase funding for research.

"Alzheimer's research is quite expensive," said Kevin Park, neuroscience professor at Central Michigan University.

He said a major breakthrough in recent years is the ability to see images of a brain from a living Alzheimer's patient.

"That kind of gives us a nice snapshot of the progression that this disease takes place over time," Park said.

He said in the past researchers could only study brains of those who had passed on. Park said this advance, that has been around since 2012, is one way researchers are making progress against Alzheimer's.

As for Putnam, she believes a cure is in sight. She said through awareness and funding more will be done each day to make life better for people like Bonnie.

"It will be amazing," Putnam said.

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