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
Tagged with Alzheimer’s …
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
Fitness Age vs. Chronological Age
Adult children should check out the October 2013 New York Times Well Blog article, What’s Your Fitness Age? The piece by Gretchen Reynolds shares information about the concept of fitness age — it can differ significantly from an individual’s chronological age — and how researchers calculate the measurement for individuals. Reynolds points out in the article that, while we … 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
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
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
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
Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Dementia
Adult children and their parents who are inveterate readers of fiction, especially prize-winning fiction, may want to read two posts at VOXXI (Hispanic Voice of the 21st Century) about Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The two posts are related and inter-connected, examining the tragedy of a great Nobel prize-winning writer who begins to suffer from memory problems, … Continue reading
Dementia Incidence Going Down? We’ll Just Have to Wait and See
Is the incidence of dementia declining? We really want this to be true, because it would mean a lot less suffering for our parents’ generation and in our own. It’s personal and as we age the threat of dementia feels closer and closer. Unfortunately, when we hear news about the incidence of dementia declining we … Continue reading