By chance, I saw this tweet from France 3 television about one of their documentaries:

This clip shows a French patient who has Alzheimer’s. Rose is in assisted living (EHPAD), and her facility has implemented ‘train ride’ therapy.

The video shows a room with a mock SNCF (French railway network) departure board. Rose and her therapist go into another room which is set up as a train compartment. The window is a screen showing a film of the countryside just as one might see it from a train.

There seem to be a few choices of railway scenes for patients: countryside, the sea and so on.

This therapy is used for patients who become troubled or troublesome. In this case, Rose is often on the verge of tears.

Therapists say the ‘train ride’ calms the patients down. They ask the patients what they see as they are ‘travelling’, what they are reminded of and so forth. The experience generates a conversation about what patients remember from their past. Rose’s husband used to work for the SNCF, so she would have taken quite a few train journeys during her marriage.

This a brilliant idea. The therapists interviewed say it came from Italy, where it has been implemented on a larger scale. It is said to be in use not only for Alzheimer’s patients but also other mental diseases and traumas.

I like the creativity going on here, which really seems to work. I hope this brings out more interesting types of therapy for Alzheimer’s patients.

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