Problem 1: Memory
The NHS has recognised that numbers of error have transpired within nursing homes resulting from failures in central executive (short term) memory function in dementia patients. The NHS has sought advice on the possible interventions to help improve this type of memory and an overview of theory for this memory. They also want to know about how the effectiveness of the intervention would be measured. Baddeley and Hitch’s (1974) model of Working Memory will be used to explain this effect.
Dementia is a chronic disorder of mental processes caused by brain disease such as Alzheimer’s or injury such as stroke. The most common symptoms associated with Dementia including memory loss and difficulties in thinking (Barry, 2002: 238-9). Nevertheless people will experience different symptoms depending on which part of the brain is spoilt and thus experience dementia differently (Goldsmith 2002:168). Around 800,000 people over the age of 65 in the UK have dementia; however 17,000 people in the UK have developed dementia before the age of 65 (Alzheimer's Society 2013:2-3).
Baddeley and Hitch (1974) coined the theory of working memory suggesting that the working memory is not a unitary store. It consists of a central executive; this controls the flow of information from and to the two subsystems: the phonological loop (deal with spoken and written material) and the visuo-spatial sketchpad (stores and process information in a visual form). The central executive (CE) is the most important part of the model. Kensinger et al () suggested that working memory in Alzheimer is reduced and that this reduction was due to semantic memory; which is the ability to understand and recognise words.
This model criticises and replaces the idea of a unitary STM suggested by the multi-store model. It makes sense of range of tasks such as reading, problem solving and navigation. It is also supported by Luzzatti’s (1998) study that suggested that patients in early stage of Alzheimer shows deficit in special imager which support the visuo-spatial sketchpad part of the model. Nonetheless, there is lack of evidence for the role of the CE. Its capacity has never been measured. Lieberman criticises this model as it does not explain changes in processing ability that can occur as the result of time. Also this model lacks support evidence that can explain the short memory problem in dementia patients (McLeod 2007).
The proposed solution would be to use stimulating activities for 2 to 4 hours a week. Activities such as music/singing, cooking and walking classes might stimulate the working memory models’ phonological loop and visio-sketchpad and the CE might then recognise the system and therefore improve its regulation (Baddeley 1974). These activities will help patients to recall something, for example, music lesson might lift individual’s spirits and take them to a time where their life was really special. remind them of their past favourite songs, events and more....