New Ways to Help Dementia Patients

A growing number of programs are treating dementia symptoms by engaging patients in various activities, from museum visits to dancing.

Lynn Porter has helped people with dementia learn to draw and led an American history discussion with elementary-school students. Hardly extraordinary -- except that Porter also has dementia.

Diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2006, Porter, a retired jeweler from Cambridge, Mass., spent two years in a pioneering day program outside Boston called Learning for Life. Students with early-stage dementia explore subjects that interest them, whether it is Mozart or the poet Robert Frost. For a unit on Russia, they visited a museum that had Russian icons and made Russian teacakes.

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Sally Abrahms
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Retirement Report
Sally Abrahms is an award-winning journalist and expert on baby boomers and seniors. She has published in the Wall Street Journal, TIME, Newsweek, AARP, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Forbes, USA Today and others. Sally is the author of two books, and recently contributed a chapter on housing to Not Your Mother's Retirement. For more about Sally, go to