LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Lower levels of depression and improvement in quality of life are just a few of the benefits participants are seeing thanks to a new free class to help individuals with dementia.  

Dignity Health wellness centers have offered these new courses to help slow the progression of the disease in those suffering from mild to moderate dementia. 

When Cecile Patterson’s husband, George, stopped talking as much as he used to, she knew something was wrong.  

“The doctor confirmed his memory getting worse, bad,” Patterson said.  

He was diagnosed with a mild case of dementia. 

More than 55 million people live with dementia worldwide, and nearly 10 million new cases are diagnosed every year.  

But a new course offered at dignity health, called Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, has been shown to offer patients more positive interactions with their family, less dependence on others, and the ability to maintain their independence. 

“Studies show participants in CST are slowing their disease process at a similar rate as people who take pharmaceutical medications to slow the dementia disease process,” said Lori Sutton, a Dignity Health Occupational Therapist.   

The course is one hour, twice a week for seven weeks. It promotes cognitive function through conversation, socialization, and physical activity with activities for concentration and memory.  

“He tried it for two weeks and said, ‘I really like doing it.’ He was excited to get up and get dressed for it,” said Patterson. 

“What we were both excited about is a series of questions for orientation. We ask to see where they are at cognitively. they all nailed it with confidence today,” said Mary Ann Kelly, a Dignity Health Community Health Worker.  

“The program, I can’t say enough about it. It’s helping him, it’s helping me.” 

There is another round of classes beginning in the first part of October. Call 702-616-4922 for more information and to register.