CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Iconic images of the 1950s and early 1960s are being brought to life for Alzheimer’s disease patients at an innovative adult day care center in Chula Vista.
“Reminiscent therapy is based on years of research that says it improves agitation, confusion and sleep quality,” said CEO Scott Tarde.
The Glenner Center’s Town Square in the 2700 block of Main Street is a giant warehouse with all the trappings of a 1950s town center: storefronts, a diner, a city hall even a pub and basketball court.
“It’s all designed to bring out memories when people develop their strongest memories and feel comfortable with things they used to do in their adult life,” Tarde said.
In San Diego County, 67,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s. Worldwide, every 65 seconds a new brain is diagnosed and two-thirds of the cases are women.
“While we don’t have a cure for Alzheimer’s we do know there are certain things that prevent or slow it down,” said former California First Lady and journalist, Maria Shriver.
Shriver knows first hand of the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s. Her father Sargeant Shriver, founder of the Peace Corps and one-time vice presidential candidate, was diagnosed in 2003 and died in 2011.
“I’m trying to tell people, you’ve got to help me get involved in this because it’s coming to your doorstep. I wish I could say it’s not, but it is,” Shriver said.
In the last decade, Shriver has worked tirelessly to bring awareness, research and money to fight the disease. She partnered with Equinox creating the fundraising vehicle “Movement for Minds” benefiting the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.
“I’m really adamant that women understand that they are two-thirds of all the cases of Alzheimer’s and they’re also two-thirds of all the caregivers,” Shriver said.
After touring The Town Square, she said her own experience proved their model is one that can work.
“My father, when he went into church, boom! He could say a prayer. Music at the church ignited a memory that was lodged in his brain. So for every person it’s different,” Shriver said.