LOS ANGELES – Let's play ball. Those are three words you might not expect to hear from the rooftop of an office building on Wilshire Boulevard.
Once a month, those words come to life at Alzheimer's L.A. through a unique reminiscence therapy program appropriately called, BasebALZ.
Because there is no cure for Alzheimer's and dementia, much of the treatment for patients is centered on slowing down the progression of the disease. One of the most popular is called “reminiscence therapy” and involves invoking and discussing memories of your past to feel more connected to your present.
“It was the introduction at an early age to baseball and it stayed with me," said John Tiedeman, one of the participants who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. “What I like most about coming here is you can talk about baseball incidents that you recall and all the listeners seem to be appreciative.”
BasebALZ is in its first year in Los Angeles. The program is sponsored by the Society for American Baseball Research and is designed to elicit moments of clarity surrounding America's favorite pastime.
It begins as most meetings do, with an introduction. There is also a presentation given by a representative from SABR on some of the game's greatest players, time for show-and-tell among the participants, and of course a game of wiffleball on the rooftop.
Not only does it help each of the patients connect with their memories, but it helps them to connect with each other.
“That’s very key," said Cynthia Tiedeman, John's wife. "You need socialization, you need support. It’s been wonderful to have the support and this BasebALZ is one of the best.”
For more information on Alzheimer's LA, or to stop by one of BasebALZ' upcoming meetings, visit their website.