Proposal for Community Well-Being Center for Elders with Dementia by Spencer M. Robinson
In perceiving that the most urgent social problem confronting our global society is that of the rapidly aging global population and the increasingly high incidence of dementia and other aging-related cognitive disability, we propose a solution in the form of a concept of innovative community-based well-being centers for elders with dementia and other forms of aging-related cognitive decline and comorbid sequelae. In this proposal we lay out the specific need for such centers and the unique, powerful curriculum provided by such centers grounded in the highly vetted principle of the enriched environment.
The vast majority of studies on the rehabilitative efficacy of the enriched environment are in the area of cognitive and physical rehabilitation in traumatic brain injury (TBI), from which studies of the efficacy of the enriched environment for recovery in other neurophysiological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, cerebrovascular accident (CVA, i.e., stroke), multiple sclerosis, depression, epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), schizophrenia, and in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other forms of dementia have emerged. In our proposal for community-based well-being centers, the vast majority of studies that we cite for the efficacy of the enriched environment are studies in TBI rehabilitation. Because of the great efficacy recorded in these studies, researchers have gone on to examine the efficacy of the enriched environment in recovery from a wide range of neurophysiological disorders as mentioned above. Since these studies show equal efficacy based on the same principles, they illustrate the critical point that neurological damage presenting as a cognitive disorder and/or physical impairment responds positively to the enriched environment regardless of etiology, as the neurophysiological processes involved in both debility and recovery therefrom are the same in every case as an inherent function of neuroplasticity, as explained in the proposal.
The proposed centers, while focused on dementia and aging-related cognitive/physical decline in consideration of the urgency in maintaining a viable functioning society in the face of the sheer number represented by the rapidly aging global population, can nevertheless effectively intervene in all cases of cognitive disorder regardless of cause and are open to all residents of the community requiring cognitive intervention and physical rehabilitation.
This proposal is intended to demonstrate the critical need for community-based well-being centers for elders with dementia, other aging-related cognitive decline and other conditions of impairment that disproportionately affect elders, and to demonstrate the scientifically vetted means by which aging-related lost functionality can be restored. The curriculum of the proposed well-being centers is grounded in the principles of Cognitive Neuroeducation (CNE), a modality we developed that can reverse the effects of dementia and restore cognitive functioning in elders based on a unique application of the enriched environment as derived from a comprehensive, rigorous synthesis of a wide corpus of studies extending over more than 70 years of solid scientific research as referenced herein. Though this proposal is written for implementation in Japan, the basic precepts are equally applicable to other nations experiencing the same demographic trajectory as Japan, perhaps not so acutely at present as Japan, but certainly threatening as a future crisis.
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