by Mary-Ellen Deily
…Ronald Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s disease Research Center, recommends playing a person’s favorite music and using other behavioral approaches to distract them. He also advises against trying to convince a person with dementia that they’re worrying about something that isn’t real. Opt for distraction over confrontation, he said. Use “therapeutic fibs,” Petersen said. “It’s calming. You’re not deceiving anybody . . . The person cannot process the information, so you just go along with it. Don’t elevate the tension state with argument.” Medication is a last resort when other efforts have failed or the person is in danger because of their symptoms, he said.
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Context: Ronald Petersen, M.D. directs the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, both of which involve the study and characterization of aging individuals over time with an emphasis on neuroimaging and biomarkers. Dr. Petersen and his colleagues evaluate cognitive changes in normal aging as well as in a variety of disorders involving impairment in cognition, such as Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration and Lewy body dementia.