stage Alzheimer's patients and family members in Houston are
learning to draw their experiences, often with dramatic results,
in a unique effort to further educate patients, caregivers
and healthcare providers on the emotional challenges of the
often reflect loss of abilities and memory deterioration,
as well as feelings of hopelessness and loss.
have used the drawings, with fairly good success, in educating
physicians, nurses, and other health care providers about
the experience of the Alzheimer's patient," said Dr.
Robert E. Reichlin, clinical instructor at Baylor College
a caregiver of an Alzheimer's patient is the most difficult
form of caregiving there is," Reichlin said. "Those
individuals are more at risk for developing stress-related
illnesses, anxiety disorders, or depression than any other
As a result
of the disease's progressive attack on verbal communication
and abilities to function, caregivers and family members must
constantly relearn to communicate with the patient, he said,
adding that family members often draw images of long journeys,
winding roads or violent roller coaster rides.
the subject matter is difficult at best, Reichlin says the
sessions remain upbeat.
a lot of laughter in our groups," he said. "It's
not somber. We talk about difficult things, but we maintain
a therapeutic environment where everyone feels emotionally
safe enough to face their illness."
of May 12, 2002