By COLlive staff
Medical experts around the world have been eagerly working to find a pill that will help prevent or delay dementia and Alzheimer’s disease for decades now, but a senior neurologist says that a project the Rebbe has started actually provides a vital solution.
“Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is one of the world’s greatest medical threats as the number of people who suffer from these diseases grows as life expectancy grows,” says Dr. Yakir Kaufman, Director of Neurology Services at the Herzog Hospital, a geriatric-psychiatric hospital in Jerusalem.
Working at a medical center that specializes in nursing care for the elderly, Dr. Kaufman has in recent years conducted extensive research that shows that a higher level of spirituality may help slow the progress of Alzheimer’s Disease. His findings were widely reported about on Fox News, ABC News, newspapers and radio.
In a new interview, Dr. Kaufman said: “The visionary Lubavitcher Rebbe actually created a solution for Dementia and Alzheimer’s prevention, decades ago. The Lubavitcher Rebbe understood that the Tiferes Zekeinim project is one of the main projects that can actually enhance health, give meaning and prevent disease.”
Kollel Tiferes Zekeinim Levi Yitzchok is a network of Torah study institutions that have been operating for elderly men and women by the Colel Chabad charity organization.
The 7 branches in Israel were founded 34 years ago at the request of the Rebbe to honor the memory of his scholarly and pious father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneerson, of blessed memory.
Dr. Kaufman has a particular interest in the activities of Tiferes Zekeinim as he also takes a spiritual approach to healing, placing the patient at the center of the healing process. “We learned that the patients with higher levels of spirituality or higher levels of religiosity may have a significantly slower progression of cognitive decline,” he says.
“The Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke time after time about the importance of primary prevention of disease, instead of treating disease and the Tiferes Zekeinim project is a very important part of this,” he said.
The neurologist says that there are more than 30 risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Part of them are medial, physical risk factors, but lately doctors have identified psychosocial risk factors including meaninglessness, depression, stress, subjective feeling of loneliness and low cognitive stimulation.
“Interestingly enough, all these major risk factors that are even more robust than the known medical physical risk factors, these 5 psychosocial risk factors happen as a group when one retires and becomes unoccupied and not busy.
At Tiferes Zekeinim, he says, “you actually see how the interactions -with the rabbi and within the group itself- gives them a sense of meaning, knowledge, cognitive stimulation and a sense of belonging and that someone cares about them and someone actually wants them to enhance their learning, their health and wellbeing.”
Dr. Kaufman, who is a Lubavitcher chossid, reveals that he actually refers patients to Tiferes Zekeinim kollels.
“I see that they achieve a stabilization of their situation in terms of their wellbeing and also their cognitive level,” he explains. “I see people that come from Tiferes Zekeinim and they actually maintain a level of cognition which is very important. In a way, this is a success story in terms of prevention. I think it is very important to open more Tiferes Zekeinim centers.”
Colel Chabad has launched a crowdfunding campaign “Honor the Rebbe’s Father” to establish 4 new kollels in honor of Chof Av, yartzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok. Dr. Kaufman says he supports the campaign wholeheartedly and called on the public to donate generously.
“I think that we should add more and more Tiferes Zekeinim,” he said. “Every neighborhood deserves a Tiferes Zekeinim center so we can enhance the health and wellbeing in every aspect of our elderly people and make life more meaningful and therefore also prevent disease.”
Donate today to inspire the lives of the elderly at HonorTheRebbesFather.com