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Habilitation — The Simplest Treatment is Usually the Best

The key to thriving with Alzheimer's, both as a patient and as a caregiver, is to embrace the remaining abilities of the person afflicted with the disease. The best way to do this is to “learn to speak Alzheimer's.”

This intuition- and communication-based treatment is called habilitation. It is a relatively new approach to Alzheimer's disease, and comes from the idea that although language and motor skills may be hindered by the disease, the emotions that the afflicted person feels are very real and mature. The goal is to read and respond to patient's emotions in the moment, and to help the patient experience the positive ones, like joy, humor, and comfort. Respectful communication, listening to tone and watching expression, and making creative activities like art and music available to the patient are all key pieces in habilitation, and can really help improve quality of life.

Find out more about habilitation in the video!

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Matthew M. Sullivan holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Grand Valley State University, with emphases in fiction and nonfiction. He lives smack-dab between some railroad tracks and Grand Rapids Michigan's third-busiest road, and spends his time studying film and literary fiction.