Giving Herself A Moment with Assisted Living

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“Give me a moment,” has become Amerita Scott’s new mantra.

The 76-year-old resident of Ingleside at Rock Creek said that whenever she finds herself grasping for words, she slows down her thought process and takes a deep breath to relieve the pressure she feels.

“Give me a moment, please,” she says assertively, re-gathering her thoughts. And with that, she is ready to start speaking again.

Part speech therapy, part cognitive therapy, the program in which Amerita participates is led by Susan Wranik, a certified speech pathologist with Ingleside at Rock Creek, a continuing care retirement community in Washington D.C.

“As we age, it’s not that we forget completely; it may just take us a little longer to retrieve the information because we have so much stored and it is more difficult to stay focused,” said Ms. Wranik.

Before beginning her training with the therapist, Amerita said she simply resorted to “I don’t know” or “Um” when she couldn’t articulate her thoughts. Eventually, she said, others started providing her with answers or simply stopped asking her questions altogether. She knew she had to refine her cognitive skills, and started working with Ms. Wranik three times per week.

“Repeated ‘I don’t knows’ just gives you permission to not even try, and eventually you become the victim of the self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Ms. Wranik.

After anesthesia during a minor surgical procedure sent Amerita into cardiac arrest, she suffered memory loss, delayed speech and had trouble keeping organized. The former librarian came to Ingleside at Rock Creek to start over, and has since sharpened her cognitive and speech skills significantly.

She attributes her decision to work hard with her speech therapist to a deep fear of Alzheimer’s disease.

“It is much more pervasive than in the past,” she said. “I am trying to be pro-active to keep from getting it, because I would like to have 25 more years of achievement and accomplishments.”

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