Facetime: A Simple, Intuitive & Easy Way to Include Great Grandparents

tripod for Facetime

Our tripod set-up

My grandson is lucky enough to have two great grandparents — my mom and dad — and we use FaceTime so they can visit with the baby despite the 500 miles that separates them.

He is too young to understand the importance of communicating with FaceTime. Oh, he’s interested the iPad or iPhone, and he is quite curious about the black silicon tripod. When my grandson sees himself on camera, he is delighted with the images, but right now he does not really get the significance of what’s going on as we all watch one another by telephone.

On the other hand, my parents, his great grandparents, totally understand the significance of the activity. They watch him moving around on camera, eating breakfast, or playing with his toys. No matter what they are doing, they will happily drop it and sit down with the iPad if a FaceTime opportunity arises. Once online they wave (he’s just learned how to wave back — sometimes) or make silly sounds, or just marvel at how much he has grown since the last time.

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

Jack Horner leads singing as Mickey McInnish plays keyboards during the Side by Side Singers practice at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Ala. on Tuesday October 27, 2015. The choir is made up of people with dementia, their family members and volunteers at the Respite Ministry at the church.

Jack Horner leads singing as Mickey McInnish plays keyboards during the Side by Side Singers practice at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Ala. on Tuesday October 27, 2015.

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 to a higher quality in life in the elder years.

No one these days disputes that music can bring happiness, joy, peace, energy, and even some sort of healing to people of every age. Increasingly, however, we are learning that for fragile elders, music not only brings joy but also rekindles memories. So why doesn’t every community of older adults have a musician on staff or at least a musician in residence who can lead a chorus, a sing-along or hymn sing? I believe that organized music programs, and not just performances that people watch, belong in every community of aging adults.

Continue reading

An Image as a Metaphor for Dementia

alz.quiltWatching 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 walked up and down the hallway looking at them over and over. One quilt especially caught my attention created in response to the her husband’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. I snapped a picture of it — I was so moved by its light and color shooting out in all directions — and I wrote to Anne Miller asking if I might use my picture here on AsOurParentsAge.net.

Continue reading

Does the Incidence of Dementia Decrease With Education?

02_healthybrain

This image comes from the National Institute of Aging Scientific Image Collection.

Check out the February 11, 2016 NPR Shots Blog article, Can Dementia Be Prevented? Education May Bolster Brain Against Risk, to learn about a recent study that aimed to find out more about the prevalence of dementia using participants in the Framingham Heart Study during three periods between 1970 and the early 2000s.

The Framingham Heart Study began in 1948 and continues today. Originally it followed the health of 5207 men and women, continuing to follow them throughout their lives but it also enrolled additional cohorts of volunteers at various intervals. The scientists who set up the study believed that considerable medical knowledge would be gained by following the same group of people over long periods of time, documenting and analyzing their medical histories.

Continue reading

College Loan & IRS Scams — I Received Both Phone Calls Today

As if there are not enough scams, here’s another one — a college loan scam. I haven’t had college loans for years and years, but I am wondering if there will soon be a parent or grandparent component to the scam. Anyway, one more caller with malicious intent to be aware of when you answer the phone.

But it’s also the time of year for tax scammers. Make sure your parents know that if they get a phone call about IRS, they should NOT believe the caller. You can watch this video, posted at the IRS website, with them.