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Home care service offers unique method to deal with Alzheimer's

The co-owner of a local home care service franchise believes a relatively new method of treatment is giving new hope to patients living with Alzheimer's Disease.

Cathy Bilton, co-owner of Nurse Next Door Home Care Services in Kelowna and Vernon, said the Ashby Memory Method works by focusing on clients' personal history to trigger memories.

"What we see at Nurse Next Door when we run this program is an incredible reduction in anxiety," said Bilton.

Bilton said the program typically runs two times per week—at a cost of $55 per session—and utilizes workbook-based exercises.

"It's kind of like brain training."

The mantra for Nurse Next Door is to keep people in their own homes for as long as possible; Bilton suggested the Ashby Memory Method does just that.

The company also happens to be the only one currently offering the program in Kelowna.

According to a 2008 Calgary Herald article, the Ashby Memory Method is a Calgary-based program created by John Ashby. He developed the system based on the work of his mother, Mira Ashby, who was awarded with the Order of Canada in 1984 for her work with the brain injured.

According to the Alzheimer's Innovative Institute website—the company John Ashby is president and CEO of—the method: Is designed to be an easy-to-implement program that offers quality of life benefits for the program participants, their families and caregivers.

A spokesperson for the Alzheimer's Society of B.C. said the Ashby Memory Method is not a system currently being used within the society and could not comment on its effectiveness due to an unfamiliarity with the method.

Dr. Claudia Jacova, an assistant professor at the UBC Division of Neurology, said there is currently an ongoing pilot study on the method supported by Alzheimer's Australia, Western Australia.

But, she noted, there is limited proof to suggest the Ashby Memory Method benefits those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.

"I am unable to form an opinion on the method, and have difficulty finding scientific evidence in its support," Jacova said in an e-mail to Capital News.

Sue Chambers of Williams Lake is a believer in the program.

She said the Ashby Memory Method worked well for her mother-in-law—who lives in Winfield—for a number of reasons.

"They really engage them. They talk to them a lot and encourage them. I found, when I was watching her do it, she was so excited because it's a program that brings up memories that she loved in the past," said Chambers.

"You can actually see their mind sort of working when they recall things…it takes stress out of their life and allows them to actually remember things that they love to do."

Chambers said her mother-in-law has been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease for the last three years.

"We never really had anything other than just trying to recall memories with her until (Nurse Next Door) asked us whether we wanted to start working on this program with her. She really enjoyed it. It gave her some kind of quality of life and memory recall that she never would've had."

Her mother-in-law was recently put in a full-time facility, but Chambers believes that would've happened much sooner had it not been for the Ashby Memory Method.

"She was able to stay in her home much longer than what we thought she would originally."

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

 

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