Visit to Busch Stadium helps Alzheimer’s patients

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – A new therapy for Alzheimer’s patients has them talking baseball.

Baseball has always been more than a game in St. Louis. It’s part of what defines us as a city and it’s a place where great memories are made. Now, Cardinal baseball is being used to treat Alzheimer’s patients.

A tour of Busch Stadium is a time for Cardinals fans to reminisce.

Mick Ambrose is an Alzheimer’s patient. He takes a look and says, “The guy that stole the stolen base record, uh, Lou Brock. Couldn’t think of his damn name. Yeah that was a great moment.”

These people have early stage Alzheimer’s Disease in common.

Debra Bryer, RN, with the Alzheimer’s Association explains, “People who have fairly advanced Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia still have these wonderful memories they can access when we help them.”

This is the Cardinals Reminiscence League, developed by the Alzheimer’s Association, Saint Louis University and the St. Louis VA. Twice a month, 25 Alzheimer’s families meet.  This time they are taking this tour of Busch Stadium. They get to hold artifacts from the Cardinals Hall of Fame and share precious memories.

Patient Bill Hoffman recalls with a laugh, “I snuck into one of the playoff games, you know when they were on Dodier Street, and that you could climb up the fence and drop down you know.”

Therapists say this innovative program helps people with memory problems by enhancing their mood and communication skills and may improve intellectual ability.

Mary Nicoletti is here with her husband who is a patient who loves to talk about baseball, “He’s a very avid Cardinal fan and he collects baseball cards and memorabilia, so this was the perfect opportunity for him to come alive and start talking more and share more.”

Saint Louis University Director of Geriatrics, Dr. John Morely developed the Cardinals Reminiscence League after learning of a support group in Scotland where Alzheimer’s patients share soccer memories.

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