Best therapy: Daily life

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 5, 2008

LOS ANGELES ó For people already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, waiting for research breakthroughs is disheartening. But life can still be lived with hope, says Wantland J. Smith, 69, a retired architect who was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s at age 66.
Smith, of Los Angeles, takes medications to treat his symptoms, attends support-group meetings and even does volunteer advocacy work for the Alzheimer’s Association in Los Angeles.
However, his best therapy, he says, is traveling with his wife, playing a guitar, attending music camps, singing in a choir, reading and meditation.
“I don’t put my energy into hoping for a cure,” Smith says. “I turn my attention to living this life.”
Smith says that support groups, a good diet, exercise, stress reduction, socializing and staying active are powerful tools to fight the disease while researchers continue their quest for better medications.
“I say to people in my support group, ‘What are you waiting for?’ ” he says. “There are things you can do now in terms of changing your life with the disease.”
ó Shari Roan