Filed under Dementia

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

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

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

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

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

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