Well, nobody saw this one coming.
An Adam Sandler movie, of all things, has inspired an effective new trend in healthcare and therapy for dementia patients. And it only took 11 years for it to catch on
50 First Dates made its way to theaters in 2004 and has aired ad infinitum on cable ever since then, so many of you may already be familiar with its premise. Sandler plays a bachelor living the wild life in Hawaii, but when he meets a lovely young lady named Lucy (Drew Barrymore), he sees fit to change his ways. The only problem? Lucy suffers from short-term memory loss and starts each morning with no memories from the previous day.
It’s a silly romantic comedy, but according to TIME, one plot point in particular caught the attention of dementia care providers. In the film, Sandler’s character records videos to help comfort Lucy and remind her of who he is — and who she is.
One nursing home, the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York City, decided to give that ideal a whirl for their own patients suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.
“[The film] was fluff, but it made me think, ‘How could that translate to our residents with memory loss?’” says Charlotte Dell, the home’s director of social services.
It’s working, Hebrew Home tells NBC New York. The video program helps to set a positive tone each morning, establish routine, and trigger residents’ memories.
Of course, every patient is unique. Alzheimer’s and dementia present differently in different people. Experts expect the therapy to be more effective in some people than in others.
Still, isn’t it nice to know that life-changing inspiration can come from the most unexpected places?