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Alzheimer’s Disease

First Words
Spring 2016

Memories of light

Our brains are structured so smells conjure vivid memories. For me, though, a change in light evokes recollections as much as a scent. The clear and soft sunlight waking up the daffodils in spring. The doomsday orange haze over the Okanogan valley during last summer’s wildfires. The pearlescent moonlight and stars over Priest Lake on a camping trip. My anxiety when I saw police car lights behind me after I drove a little too fast near Tacoma. The red glow of the Bryan Hall clock as I walked past it a hundred times with friends.

These memories come into even greater contrast when … » More …

Winter 2011

Video: Smart Apartment Research

On-going research at Washington State University is exploring how homes can be built or retrofitted to make living a little bit easier. With the work of AI Lab Manager James Kusznir, doctoral student Aaron Crandall and other faculty and students, WSU’s Smart Apartment is exploring the practical applications of how to help elderly people stay in their homes, and to create more efficient living spaces.

From WSU News; video by Matt Haugen

Read more:

When Memory Fades (Winter 2011)

Using technology to address the challenges of aging (Fall 2011)

Fall 2011

Using technology to address the challenges of aging

An increasing number of families know the stress of trying to deal with an elderly parent or spouse who is losing his or her ability to live independently. How can we maintain dignity for those who are having trouble completing daily tasks? How do we keep our elders safe, and who takes care of them?

A WSU research team, led by Diane Cook, Huie-Rogers Chair Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe, professor in the Department of Psychology, will be studying approximately 10-20 residents in Horizon House, a Seattle-based continuing care retirement community, for three years as part of … » More …

Fall 2003

Designing for dementia

A common clothesline can make a difference in preserving the dignity and self identity of Alzheimer’s patients, says Keith Diaz Moore, Washington State University professor of architecture and landscape architecture.

At Sedgewood Commons in Falmouth, Maine, a backyard clothesline engages residents of the 96-bed care facility in daily household tasks. It also represents how designers now are considering cultural aspects in building new and remodeled assisted-living facilities, explains Diaz Moore. “An outdoor yard, including a clothesline, historically has been an important part of New England family culture. Here it helps promote resident autonomy, and the ritual of maintaining the landscape encourages awareness and orientation.”

Diaz … » More …

Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe's work to help people with memory loss

Whether the problems stem from normal aging, diseases like Alzheimer’s, or traumatic brain injury, impaired memory can turn even routine tasks into major challenges. The main focus of Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe’s work is finding ways to help people with memory loss cope better with everyday tasks, enabling them to live independently as long as possible.

In one recent project, she coached volunteers with memory loss in the use of a notebook that resembled a detailed day planner. They recorded what happened as each day went along, including what they did, when, and with whom. That helped them with content, source, and temporal ordering memory. They … » More …