When I first met George two years ago, he was unable to find his way out of his living room in his house. He had been diagnosed six years earlier with Parkinson’s disease and early dementia caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
George had been president of his own engineering company, was an avid golfer, and loved being outdoors. Unfortunately he had to sell his company, give up golf, and was fairly confined to the indoors. He could no longer read or write and was very depressed.
I’ve been using Play Attention with George two or three times a week for two years. Now he can identify and go to any room in his house, practice golf on the Wii, read or listen to short stories, and answer comprehension questions. We go outside for long walks to enjoy nature. He and his wife can go out to dinner, go to the movies, and participate in a bible study group.
Although I use a few other therapies with George, his favorite is Play Attention! I believe this is because Play Attention gives him back a sense of control over his mind, and by extension, over his life. Even while Parkinson’s disease slowly robs him of body control, Play Attention allows him to retain his mind and memory control. This is crucial for his psychological and emotional well being.
George scores between 70% and 90% on the Play Attention games. He has moved through the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. I put Velcro on the space bar so he can re-establish his finger position if the tremors interfere with his hand. On games where the mouse is needed, I move the mouse while he focuses. George loves Play Attention and takes great pride in his success.
For most people with neurodegenerative disorders, (i.e. Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.), their greatest fear is increasing loss of independence and control of their lives. This can lead to loss of hope and severe depression.
I have seen the difference Play Attention can make in the lives of both PD and AD clients. While Play Attention can’t cure such diseases, it certainly slows the progression and restores quality of life. They feel a return of confidence, self control and self esteem. Play Attention gives them hope and a more positive attitude with which to live their lives.
Submitted by Nancy Thomas
Brain Fitness Center