DES MOINES (IOWA NEWS SERVICE) - Now that the first class of Baby Boomers is reaching retirement age, the number of people suffering dementia and Alzheimers disease is expected to increase in coming years.
The Alzheimers Association of Greater Iowa predicts that our region will see 25 percent more Alzheimers patients by 2025. Drugs and medical procedures are helping to prevent and slow memory loss, but a new inexpensive approach is also proving to be a useful tool. Beth Terborg, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist, has developed what she calls "Rummage Kits."
Terborg says the kits are stocked with items that are familiar, based on a person's life experiences.
"Somebody who likes to be out in the woods and hunting, we bought a guide for all of the great fishing lakes and some hunting vests. We looked specifically for different colors and textures. Things that you could see, things that you could smell, things that you can hear, so that we are stimulating all of the senses."
Carol Sipfle, executive director of the Alzheimers Association of Greater Iowa, says you can exercise the mind by just triggering the senses.
"If you can help people and bring them back to some older memories, things from their childhood or their favorite hobbies and things like that... those kinds of things are calming for them."
Beth Terborg says she's put together Rummage Kits for patients who have backgrounds in teaching, fishing, camping, sewing and other special interests. Among her patients, the Childcare Kit with the life-like baby doll is the most popular. She says it's easy and inexpensive to put a kit together.