Forgetting is an everyday affair when dementia creeps into a family’s life. For adult children it presents a conversation conundrum. Speaking with fragile parents as they recall even more fragile memories can be frustrating and time consuming. Used to functioning as knowledgeable and independent individuals, people with memory challenges do not expect to be corrected. … Continue reading
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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
If You Worry About Dementia in Any Way, Read Seven Steps to Managing Your Memory
My husband and I have now offered support and reassurance to four older parents with memory loss. While each individual has experienced some type of dementia, all at fairly advanced ages, each of their situations has been unique. Each time the assistance we offered to our parents depended upon putting together a fairly complex puzzle … Continue reading
Is Forgetting Really Forgetting?
Last summer I went off to part one of my scheduled yearly Medicare Wellness Visit the same morning I had an unscheduled visit to the dentist for an unexpected root canal. At the Primary Care Practice where I go, my physician divides the visit into two parts. The first part was with a physician’s assistant … Continue reading
Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, and the Miracle of Music
We were driving home from a delightful lunch at a Thai restaurant — my husband, me, and my mother and dad. In one of those quirks of the digital age, my iPhone connected with the car’s bluetooth function, and suddenly the car was filled with music. We all hummed along and smiled as Tony Bennett … Continue reading
Alzheimer’s Drug Studies Failing, but There’s Still Optimism
If you are the adult child of an elder, you often worry about that family member’s memory, and you are always on the lookout for potential problems. If you are like me, you comb the the scientific literature and health articles looking for information dreaming of a solution to a weakening memory. Some days the research … Continue reading
The Unforgettables: More on Music, the Brain & Dementia
Check out this delightful TV video about The Unforgettables — a chorus in New York City that includes people with dementia — that includes an interview with a physician who is conducting research about music and the brain.
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
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
Grandma by Jessica Shepherd: A Book Review
Recently I discovered a children’s book, Grandma, that tells a story, from a child’s point of view, about a much-loved grandmother who develops dementia. As an educator, I’ve often thought about the need for books that help children understand the disease while illustrating how to continue to love and support a family member who experiences dramatic memory changes. Only … Continue reading
GPS in Shoes: A Product that Makes Sense and Helps People
Take a look at an article, George Mason Professor Champions Shoes with GPS Tracking, that describes how Professor Andrew Carle developed the idea of using GPS chips in the shoes of older adults who tend to wander because of brain diseases. According to the Washington Post report Professor Carle contacted a shoe company that produces GPS children’s shoes … 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
Should Physicians Ask Fragile Elders About Guns in Their Homes?
Some time ago I read a newspaper article written by an elderly man who was caring for his wife, who had Alzheimer’s disease. He was doing much of her care at home, and his article spoke of their history, how they had met, his family, and much more about their life together. He was sad … Continue reading
New Yorker Article on New Models of Long-term Elder Care
If you can locate a copy of The New Yorker May 20, 2013 article The Sense of An Ending by Rebecca Mead, it’s well worth reading because of its focus on new models of providing care to fragile elders with dementia illnesses in nursing homes. The article extensively describes the Beatitudes Campus in Arizona, but it also mentions … Continue reading
Musician Amy Grant on Caregiving for Her Dad
If you help to support an aging parent and also like listening to folk music with strong spiritual themes (also called Christian pop), take a few minutes to listen to singer Amy Grant talk about caregiving for her aging father, a retired physician, and how these experiences influence her music. During the program, broadcast via … Continue reading
Innovation During the Coming Epidemic of Memory Impairment
I just finished reading How to Defeat Alzheimer’s, a May 28, 2013 article in the Los Angeles Times. The article, by David Shubert, PhD, of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, reminds readers of the vast number of boomers who will experience memory impairments (14 million in 2050) at the end of their lives, requiring extensive medical and … Continue reading