May 8, 2015

Can Walmart or Ping Pong Slow Dementia, Alzheimer's?

I figured if I could get my mother to use her brain in concert with her hands and eyes; and at the same time, to use her brain to make decisions then maybe this activity would help her make new brain cells and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Forget Me Not | Alzheimer's Reading Room


When I started watching this article and the video (go down to the bottom of this article) I became very excited. So exited that I actually had to get up and walk around (pace) just to calm myself down.

The premise of the research described in the article - Researchers Find Ping-Pong Can Slow Effects Of Dementia, Alzheimer’s - is that table tennis therapy forces the brain to work harder and as a result this might help you increase the number of new brain cells you are making, and increase the size of you hippocampus (the part of your brain that gets attacked first by Alzheimer's disease.

Why did I get so excited? Because way back in 2007 I started taking my mother to Walmart and had her drive around the store with me in the motorized shopping cart.

My basic premise was clear and simple. I figured if I could get my mother to use her brain in concert with her hands and eyes; and at the same time, to use her brain to make decisions - stop, start, go left, go right, go straight - then maybe this activity would help her make new brain cells.

The goal

Slow the progression of Alzheimer's im my mom.


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By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

I believe it worked.

My point here. I think each and every one of you should consider taking your loved on to the grocery store, or to Walmart or Target, and get them to drive the motorized shopping cart.

For those of you that have a patient that is complaining about not being allowed to drive. Guess what?

This is their chance to Drive!

Think about it - this fills there need to drive.

Not only did this activity make my mother happier and more alive - it also raised her self esteem. Yep, she started bragging about friends about how she drove the cart. Of course, I gave her great praise while she was driving the cart around Walmart. And most importantly, after she was done, and then all day long. It works!


Now I can just hear many of you saying or thinking - this won't work for us. Or, its too late. Or, s/he won't be able to do it.

Let me tell you. I didn't know if my mother, Dotty, could do it, until she did it. And yes, it took me more than 6 months to even try it.

As was the case, in the beginning I tried to beg, cajole, or explain to her whey she should get in the cart. She said the same thing every time. NO!

Then one day I was filled with determination. I went into the Walmart, drove the cart out to the car, opened the care door and stuck out my hand. I kept my mouth shut and kept my hand out. Dotty of course asked what are we doing? I helped her out of the car, guided her right into the cart, and that was the beginning.

Dotty continued to drive the cart even when she was in a very advanced stage of Alzheimer's.

You can do, and you will benefit.

Here is a good article I wrote about Walmart and Exercise - Walmart and this Alzheimer's Caregiver.


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Bob DeMarco  is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized expert, writer, speaker, and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,900 articles and 368,000 links. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
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