Fighting Dementia With Memories of Childhood and Happy Times 用兒時回憶和快樂時光對抗失智
文/Christopher F. Schuetze
“We’re lost,” said Truus Ooms, 81, to her friend Annie Arendsen, 83, as they rode a city bus together.“As the driver, you should really know where we are,” Arendsen told Rudi ten Brink, 63, who sat at the wheel of the bus.
The three are dementia patients at a care facility in the eastern Netherlands. Their bus ride — a route on the flat, tree-lined country roads of the Dutch countryside — was a simulation that plays out several times a day on three video screens.
It is part of an unorthodox approach to dementia treatment that doctors and caregivers across the Netherlands have been pioneering: harnessing the power of relaxation, childhood memories, sensory aids, soothing music, family structure and other tools to heal, calm and nurture the residents, rather than relying on the old prescription of bed rest, medication and, in some cases, physical restraints.
“The more stress is reduced, the better,” said Dr. Erik Scherder, a neuropsychologist at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and one of the country’s best-known dementia care specialists. “If you can lower stress and discomfort, it has a direct physiological effect.”
Simulated trips in buses or on beaches — like one in a care facility in Haarlem, not far from a real beach — create a gathering point for patients. The shared experience lets them talk about past trips and take a mini holiday from their daily lives.
Dementia, a group of related syndromes, manifests itself in a steep decline in brain functions. The condition steals memories and personalities. It robs families of their loved ones and saps resources, patience and finances.
In recent years, the government has preferred to pay for home care rather than in a licensed facility so most people with dementia live at home. The facilities, which are privately run but publicly funded, are generally reserved for people in an advanced state of the disease.
In the 1990s, the Dutch started thinking differently about how to treat the disease, moving away from a medicalized approach.
“In the ‘80s, clients were treated like patients in a hospital,” said Ilse Achterberg, a former occupational therapist, who was one of the pioneers of “snoezel” rooms, which feature light, aroma, massage and sound therapy, and let patients relax and access emotions that are often blocked in stressful clinical settings.
A Hemingway War Story Sees Print for the First Time 海明威戰爭短篇首次刊出
By 1956, Ernest Hemingway was in a free fall.
Once transformative and captivating, his short, simple staccato style that remade U.S. writing decades before had gone stale. It was now emulated by numerous authors. Lost in a literary rut, he became a caricature of his super-macho characters. He dodged sniper’s bullets in France, chased wild animals in Africa and tried to outrun fame.
That summer, Hemingway found inspiration for his fiction in his adventures years earlier as a correspondent in World War II. He wrote five short stories about the war, he told his publisher, with a stipulation: “You can always publish them after I’m dead.”
Six decades later and long after his suicide in 1961, only one of those stories had been published — until Thursday. The newly published work, “A Room on the Garden Side,” is a roughly 2,100-word story told in the first person by an American writer named Robert just after Allied soldiers liberated Paris from the Nazis in August 1944.
There is little doubt that Robert is based on the author himself. The scene from the title is a garden-view room at the Ritz, the luxury hotel in Paris on the Place Vendôme that Hemingway adored and claimed to have “liberated” in the war. Soldiers in the story call Robert by the writer’s nickname, “Papa.” There are other signs, too: exclusive magnums of Champagne, doting service from the hotelier and discussions about books and writers and the trappings of celebrity.
“Hemingway’s deep love for his favorite city as it is just emerging from Nazi occupation is on full display, as are the hallmarks of his prose,” said Andrew F. Gulli, the managing editor of The Strand Magazine, the literary quarterly that published the story.
While the short story had never been released to the reading public, it was not entirely unknown. The manuscript — 15 pages written in pencil — has been stored for decades in the permanent Hemingway collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Hemingway scholars have studied and written about “A Room on the Garden Side” and the four other works in the series, including “Black Ass at the Crossroads,” the only other story that had been published.
About a year ago, Gulli said, he asked the Hemingway estate for permission to print the story in Strand Magazine, which mostly publishes new mystery stories but also unpublished pieces by well-known writers. In November, it published an uncovered short story by Raymond Chandler, best known for his gritty detective tales.