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The Total Drama Technique is a new, non-medical programme of complementary drama-based activities, designed to improve the wellbeing of people with dementia. In dementia patients, nerve cells in various parts of the brain are damaged, lose their ability to communicate with one another and start to die. The result is that the brain is unable to continue to function in the usual way and the patient may start to show degenerative symptoms such as memory loss, poor coordination, confusion, aggression and inability to communicate thoughts and desires.
However, the brain is extremely clever and extremely resilient. Remarkably, it is able to rebuild and rewire pathways of communication where they have previously worn out.
Scientists have shown that stimulating the brain through activities such as drama may not only increase cognitive ability but may also slow the progression of dementia.
Devised specifically for sufferers of dementia, the Total Drama Technique aims to challenge and stimulate the mind and promote a sense of wellbeing and contentment. It allows for a system of voluntary teamwork and cooperation where, in an improvisatory setting, a group of participants can be opened up for action, spontaneity, dialogue and communication. Growth and development in this way not only allow people with dementia to begin to see the world in a new, more positive light, but it also enables them to get organised and make plans for the future.
The Total Drama Technique is totally non-invasive and is not intended as a substitute for ongoing medical care; rather, it should be used as a complementary activity, in addition to the medical programme recommended by GPs. The Technique does not diagnose dementia; instead it aims to equip dementia patients with the ability to cope with their condition, and make their everyday lives easier.