L51 — December 2011 — The Habit Program
Intro: Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is a condition that can be a precursor to dementias such as Alzheimer's disease. People with MCI have problems with things like memory and judgment. Many times after a diagnosis people are left wondering, "What do I do now?" That's why Mayo Clinic developed the Habit Program. It's an intensive rehab program to help people having memory challenges stay as independent as possible for as long as possible.
This was an actual stairway to a sleeping loft in Japan.
Martha and Dick Olson have lived what they describe as nomadic lives.
We've lived in so many places. Twenty-seven places in 52 years of marriage.
It's always been easy for both of them to adapt to changes. Until a few years ago when Martha began to have a little trouble remembering new phone numbers, addresses and people's names.
I will see somebody and I will think, "Now what was their name?"
Martha was having difficulty holding on to new information. She was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. That diagnosis prompted many questions.
Where's the road map for this kind of a situation? Is this a positive thing to be found out early?
And since there's no medication right now to stop this condition, what can we do to handle these changes in our lives? Their questions were answered at Mayo Clinic's Habit Program.
What we're trying to do is have people develop Habits — Habit is a form of memory, but it's the kind of memory that's preserved even as other aspects of your memory decline.
Dr. Glenn Smith says the Habit Program is a 10-day workshop for people with MCI and their spouses. A key part of the program is learning to use a journal to keep track of appointments, activities, people's names, medications, anything you want to remember. The program also focuses on healthy communication between partners, and staying active physically, mentally and socially.
We have collected data to make sure that our program has value, and it shows us that at six months out people are still functioning as well as they did when they started.
This stack of journals shows Martha and Dick took the tools they learned in the Habit Program and brought them home.
We were given tools to try to find a good life, a full life where we don't have to rely on short-term memory.
Habits that help the Olsons modify parts of their life so they can live it together to the fullest.
For Medical Edge, I'm I'm Vivien Williams.
If you would like more information about MCI or Mayo Clinic's Habit Program, visit our website at…
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