Filed under Alzheimer’s

More on Music & Memory Loss

I’ve just finished an article that describes a celebratory Independence Day musical activity for people with memory loss, held at Iona Senior Services in Washington, DC. This illustrates, once again, how familiar music appears to short circuit, at least temporarily, certain aspects of dementia, because the act of singing or listening to the music reconnects people to … Continue reading

Music, the Brain, Aging, and Memory Diseases

We live with music throughout our lives — it surrounds people no matter what their age. Children, of course, love to sing at almost as soon as they are born, but music, even for those who are not musicians, is a part of the air people breathe. Interestingly, music appears to become even more important as people age and contributes … Continue reading

An Image as a Metaphor for Dementia

Watching a much-loved family member’s gradual memory decline brings with it great sadness. We observe vast amounts of knowledge and personal connection — the inner light of an individual — disconnecting and disappearing. Recently I spent a morning looking at an amazing quilt exhibit at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (VMRC). The quilter, Anne Miller, created exquisite patterns, and images, and I … Continue reading

Music that Heals the Soul

Music by itself cannot heal a disease. No one these days, however, disputes that music can heal the soul, making illness more bearable. Some time ago I wrote about Alive Inside, a movie that documents the success of therapeutic music programs with elderly participants who have dementia of Alzheimers. The program, started by Dan Cohen, pairs … Continue reading

So How Does Music Connect With the Brain?

I’ve watched in wonder as music changes people — kids, adults, people who are ill, elders, and caregivers. Of course, the movie Alive Inside visually documents how music can affect people, even those with substantial memory loss. But what exactly is happening in the brain? In the process of wondering, I came across an excellent video … Continue reading

The Alive Inside Documentary Is Now Available at iTunes

Last summer my husband and I saw the documentary Alive Inside, and we were amazed at the power of music. Well actually we already knew a fair amount the power of music, but seeing people with advanced dementia become more articulate and communicative — and even feel better — made us realize how powerfully music can relieve at least … Continue reading

Alive Inside: This Movie Is Extraordinary!

You know a movie speaks to the audience when people just sit there as the credits start to roll rather than getting up and moving out. That’s what happened this evening when my husband and I went to see Alive Inside, the Sundance award-winning documentary about the role that music plays in the lives of elderly people who … Continue reading

Alive Inside: Music Brings Back Memories and Dignity

Note: If after reading this post you are interested in seeing the movie, please check out my Alive Inside movie review. I discovered Alive Inside, the Sundance award-winning documentary film that demonstrates the power that music can exercise over memory loss, a few months ago when my husband and I shared an amazing experience attending the Second … Continue reading

Senior Moment or Alzheimer’s?

As the adult children of aging parents most of us are used to hearing friends and colleagues make the “senior moment” comment. Often when a person over 45 or so has difficulty remembering something, he or she will comment, “…oops, I’m having a senior moment.” I began noticing this in my late 40′s and now, … Continue reading

What’s It Like to Have Alzheimer’s and Get Worse?

Those of us who have lived with dementia or Alzheimer’s in our families know about the struggle. But rarely does an opportunity come along to read about what’s happening to memory from the perspective of the person who is ill and gradually becoming sicker. Facing a Fading Future: Retired Doctor Chronicles His Struggles With Alzheimer’s … Continue reading

TED Talk on Mapping the Brain — Be Sure to Watch

Adult children with a parent experiencing memory issues may want to listen to this July 2011 TED Talk, A Map of the Brain, by Allan Jones, the head of the Allen Institute for Brain Research.  The lecture explores the brain’s structure, they way different parts function, and current research, and it and includes some amazing images. I … Continue reading

Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Book Review

A few  years ago, when my mother-in-law was sinking deeper and deeper into dementia, my husband and I suddenly realized, with some help from professional geriatric counselors, that the devious brain disease had been lurking for some time. Although we had noticed a number of memory issues and behaviors, we continually chalked them up to … Continue reading