Alzheimer patient opens bike shop in hospital

Alzheimer patient opens bike shop in hospital

TAIPEI - Chang Lien-hung, an 86-year-old bicycle mechanic who suffers from Alzheimer's disease opened up a bike shop in Mackay Memorial Hospital with the help of caregivers as part of his therapy.

Chang owned a bike shop in Tamsui during the Japanese occupation. Six years ago he started to show signs of Alzheimer's disease, forgetting to receive payments from customers and not remembering that he'd just eaten after finishing a meal. His family decided to close down the shop and arranged to have him cared for by Mackay Memorial Hospital's nursing department in Tamsui.

Head nurse Lee Li, who has been caring for Chang, said that a few months ago, her son fell from his bicycle, which broke, near the hospital. After her son had received treatment at the hospital, they discovered that the broken bike had been repaired by Chang.

"Even though it took Chang about five minutes to fix the bicycle, it made us realise that maybe we can try to improve his condition by encouraging him to do what he does best, which is repairing bicycles," Lee said.

"Chang's family really supported the idea and they brought in tools and equipment as well as the business certificate from Lee's original shop which was issued in the 1970s," Lee said.

Chang opens up the shop every morning and has started to show signs of gradual improvement, the nurse explained.

"Chang's son said that before his father moved into the hospital, his father didn't recognise the tools and equipment that he'd been using for decades," Lee said. "But after his room was decorated like his old bike shop, he started to remember more of his old skills."

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