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Music and art activities help
Internal Administrator
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Joined: 1/14/2015
Posts: 40463


Originally posted by: Philippa

Hi. My father had dementia for 12 years before he passed away 2 1/2 years ago. I am now doing research into ways of enhancing the quality of life people with dementia have. I go to a day centre every week and spend time with 10 clients who have Alz. I hope to develop something that will enable people with dementia to be creative themselves.

Musical activities seem to work especially well, with clients remembering lyrics from songs they used to sing long ago. You can see the joy in their faces as they sing, hum or tap along to the music.

Although I haven't seen any art activities take place yet, I've read that some people with dementia really enjoy painting and/or drawing, either retaining skills they once had or finding a new enthusiasm to create artwork.

I'd be really interested to hear details from anyone who has seen someone enjoying music or art.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Steph7

quote:
Originally posted by Philippa:
Hi. My father had dementia for 12 years before he passed away 2 1/2 years ago. I am now doing research into ways of enhancing the quality of life people with dementia have. I go to a day centre every week and spend time with 10 clients who have Alz. I hope to develop something that will enable people with dementia to be creative themselves.

Musical activities seem to work especially well, with clients remembering lyrics from songs they used to sing long ago. You can see the joy in their faces as they sing, hum or tap along to the music.

Although I haven't seen any art activities take place yet, I've read that some people with dementia really enjoy painting and/or drawing, either retaining skills they once had or finding a new enthusiasm to create artwork.

I'd be really interested to hear details from anyone who has seen someone enjoying music or art.

Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

quote:
Originally posted by Ashwathi:
hi!

is it possible for a person to enjoy all this once he/she has reachd the middle stage?

thanksSmiler

Hi,

I've certainly read a lot about how people, even in the latter stages of dementia, have an appreciation of music. I think you have to be careful to be using music that the person likes though, as music can also be dreadful to listen to when you don't like it. In the day centre I attend, they tend to play music that the clients would have been listening to in their teens/20s/30s.

Hope this is of some help.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: SylviaE

Calypso, if classical music distresses her try a different kind - hymns, folk songs, easy listening oldies.

My mother was a piano teacher for over 50 years. I think the most painful day was when she said that she just couldn't remember how to play anymore. I had taken my keyboard to her room. I had to borrow it for a perfomance and asked if she wanted it back soon. She said it was too painful to have and not to bring it back. My heart is broken. I know hers is also. Also, without the keyboard there as a reminder I think she will soon forget that she ever played the piano at all.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: BeauLily

quote:
Originally posted by Philippa:
Hi. My father had dementia for 12 years before he passed away 2 1/2 years ago. I am now doing research into ways of enhancing the quality of life people with dementia have. I go to a day centre every week and spend time with 10 clients who have Alz. I hope to develop something that will enable people with dementia to be creative themselves.

Have you seen the TwiddleMuffs to give the docile or agitated individual something to keep them busy? The gadgets and material provide quality tactile stimulation. There is a website providing lots of information about them.
Musical activities seem to work especially well, with clients remembering lyrics from songs they used to sing long ago. You can see the joy in their faces as they sing, hum or tap along to the music.

Although I haven't seen any art activities take place yet, I've read that some people with dementia really enjoy painting and/or drawing, either retaining skills they once had or finding a new enthusiasm to create artwork.

I'd be really interested to hear details from anyone who has seen someone enjoying music or art.

Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Jezza

Claire and Philippa,

It may be of some interest to you that my local Salvation Army integrates art and music into their adult day care. They have local teachers come in on different days of the week to lead craft projects, music sing alongs, and very moderate dance for those still able. The people there all seem to love it very much.

A bigger hit, however, is the dog show that comes once a month. A lady nearby has several dogs who compete in dog competitions, and they come and do all manner of tricks. That's probably the biggest favorite, and everybody from ages 5 to 95 enjoys it equally.

Just a thought...
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: kymomof3

Hello Donna, there are a few mp3's marketed for kids that might work for him. They are easier and tougher than regular mp3's. Check some of them out at amazon.com. just search toddler mp3. I bought the fisher price one for my 4yr old nephew( on clearence for $20.00) and it is very simple to use, with big buttons. It has a neckstrap that maybe handy for keeping up with it. it does take a little time to get the songs on, but it only has to be done once and if you are smart enough to leave a post online9 which you are0 Razzeryou should have no trouble. Good luck..
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: eileenv

Dear Philippa and Rosie,

You guys are so right. It's amazing how my Dad will start singing at the drop of a hat! He realy enjoys it. Not something he ever did much before.

Also, when he gets upset, I'll start singing something funny, and he'll stop and smile or join it.

It's these little successes that make my day.

Eileen
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: kymomof3

Hello again Donna, I was just looking at our local toys-r-us sales paper and they have a Coby mclip MP3 player, that is actually a big clip so it would be easy to keep up with and it has only 3 buttons. play and + - volume. I couldn't find it online at toys-r-us , but here is a link to it on amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_e/103-4361222-0418205...oby+mclip+mp3+player


JUST CUT AND PASTE THE ABOVE INTO YOUR ADDRESS BAR. Best of luck and God bless.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: claire dyson

Hello

I run a project called Renew You. Its run through Age Concern, and we offer creative and expressive arts for our client group. We offer a range of exercise, tai chi, yoga, belly dancing, aromatherapy, reiki, massage, lots of music, participating in music workshops, arts sessions and trips to museum storage centres and reminisence work.

This project has vastly improved the clients health and well-being. The stories that have been collated after these sessions have been recorded. The project has been running for a year, and we have another 3 years left to run.
Claire Dyson
Renew You Project Manager
Age Concern Birmingham
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

Hi again Smiler

Claire, your project sounds really interesting. I'd love to find out more about the positive affect the activities you're doing are having. I hope you don't mind if I try tracking you down at Age Concern?

I haven't really explained fully what I'm doing. I want to bring active music making to people with dementia, irrespective of their musical background. Learning to play musical instruments is difficult enough for most of us to do, without having the additional problems that dementia brings. My research aims to find out if technology can facilitate music making, and I'm developing a tool that I hope will enable people with dementia to produce music in an easy way.

I have been lucky enough to play music throughout my life. My dad did too, and I think he would have loved to have been able to play music when he had dementia. I hope this is the same for those who have never played too. I know computers can be scary for some, but I am endeavouring to make this tool as inviting as possible and extremely easy to use (moving one finger around on a touch screen to make music). I hope to begin trialling the tool soon, so by the end of the year may have some experiences, hopefully positive, to share Smiler

Sorry to hear about your mum, Alicia. One positive I took from my dad's illness is that I got to know him in a different way - he shared his experiences and feelings with me and I don't think he would have done that without having dementia. I hate that he was ill, but it did mean that we got closer...

It's great that your mum and dad share a love of dancing. I'm sure that music and dance will have a big part to play in helping you, your mum and your dad in the coming years.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: AlmAVida

Hello,
I work as an Arist in Residence for the Alzhemier's Association in a program titled Memories in the Making. Have you ever heard of it? Currently, I work at several facilities in the San Diego California County hosting therapeutic art group with the alzheimer community. It has been wonderfully rewarding both for myself and the artists (alzhemier adults) who participate. As in everything, the process is complicated. For some, renewed creativity brings about a rebirth. For others, it reminds them how much capability they have lost. In either case I believe that it is my job to ensure that each artist leaves the art group feeling a little better/more alive and smiling- even sometimes through tears.
I'd have volumes to say about my experience, but for now, I'll just leave you with this-my two cents.. Hope it helps
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

Hi Catherine,

I'm not sure about being a strong person Wink There were many occasions when my dad was still with us when I found it difficult to cope. Like you, I didn't want to make life harder for my mum and so I would talk through my feelings with friends and my sisters, and sometimes I'd have a good cry when I was alone.

To your other question (and I'm not sure I'm answering this properly), when I volunteer at the day centre I generally take along my keyboard and play traditional Scottish music - songs that the people there are all familiar with. We do lots of activities around music. Once the group kept singing a song I didn't know until I knew the tune and could play it.

I admit that sometimes when I'm there I remember how my dad was and then when I leave I feel sad, miss him a lot and hate this condition that is so unkind. Also, when people are feeling agitated or upset at the day centre, this is also difficult to see. However, seeing pleasure in both the people with Alzheimer's and the carers when we're singing and dancing is a great feeling for all.

I'm glad to hear your art project is going well, and it's good that you are trying to understand what dementia/Alzheimer's is.

Actually, I think you're a strong person too Smiler
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

Hi again,

I just wanted to suggest one of the activities I've done at Alzheimer Scotland, which works well. It's "Name That Tune", but you do need to use an instrument.

Like the popular tv show, clients and carers say how many notes they think they can guess a piece of music in - and it does get competitive. I then play the least amount of notes chosen on my keyboard.

Most tunes are guessed after only 3 or 4 notes. The clients may not say the name of the song, but they certainly start singing it. People who don't always join in other activities automatically join in by singing once they recognise the tune. Successful guesses earn a round of applause.

Once guessed, we then play the tune in full so everyone can join together singing the whole song.

Everyone really seems to enjoy this game.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

Hi Catherine,

This is a difficult time for you and your family, and I'm sure they understand that you're finding it hard to see your nan so frail. If you can, you might find it useful to talk to other members of your family - telling them how you feel and also asking how they feel. I know this can be hard at 14, especially when you normally keep feelings to yourself, but you never know... it might help. Having a good cry can be very helpful too - getting pent up feelings out of your system.

You might find some of the other message boards here useful to chat about how you're feeling too.

Whatever you do, I hope you are able to get the support you need in the coming days and weeks.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

Hi Andrea,

I'm glad you've witnessed people with dementia being creative as that's what my research is concerned with - musical creativity and dementia.

For those struggling with activities to do, art can be something anyone can try. Certainly I did a card crafting morning at Alzheimer Scotland and this was really successful. The clients AND carers who joined in were really surprised at what they could do, as they did not all consider themselves to be 'arty'. One client appeared to have an artistic background, as he placed his cut-out flowers beautifully around the card. We did this activity for a full 2 hours, and no-one seemed fed up, bored or frustrated. It was great to be a part of...

With regards to my research with music, I have recently witnessed another volunteer teach a new song to the clients and carers. Every Friday they practice this song, and many remember the tune, if not the lyrics.

I think it's a matter of being brave enough to try things out...

Philippa
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

Hi Catherine,

I am really glad you have some special memories of your nan. It's important to have these nice memories, especially when your nan is no longer able to do as much. I have some lovely memories of my dad, and they helped me a lot when his dementia (he didn't have Alzheimer's) became more severe.

I am trying to think of ways in which you can portray the emotions that people with dementia feel. A start might be to think about what these feelings are, both positive and negative, e.g. people with dementia can be less inhibited and so may enjoy activities such as art more than before they had Alzheimer's, and so they are being more creative. This can be exciting for them - they have a freedom they did not have before. Think about some positive emotions you remember your nan having and why. Negative feelings could be things like agitation, agression, or perhaps being withdrawn and depressed.

Once you have a list of emotions, you could think about the colours you think would best suit them. For example, you might think that the colour of depression is lots of different grey tones getting darker and darker and eventually becoming black. Perhaps being/feeling creative is multicoloured.

I'll leave it to you to decide how you would put these colours on paper, but perhaps it's a start as to how you go about portraying how you think people with Alzheimer's feel.

Also, I do like art but I'm not an expert, so apologies to any art experts out there that completely disagree with the above. However, art is a personal thing Catherine, so whatever you do will be right..! Smiler
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

Hi Joanna,

Excellent news about the charity art auction.

In the UK, the Alzheimer's Research Trust is a leading research charity, or perhaps a bit closer to you, the Alzheimer's Association who are providing this very useful forum facility.

There are so many places though - good luck choosing Smiler
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: claire dyson

Hi Phillippa

You would be most welcome to contact me at Age Concern. my email is cdyson@ageconcernbirmingham.org.uk.

Kind regards
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

Hi Donna,

I know there is research being done to develop an mp3 music playing device at the University of Liverpool. The following link is a bit old (May 2006), but gives an idea of what they are working on: http://www.liv.ac.uk/researchintelligence/issue28/dementia.html

I think in terms of the here and now, Sharon's advice is more beneficial, but there's hope for products in the future.

Best of luck.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

Hi George

I have to agree that music is certainly good therapy! One lady at the day centre I attend can be quite agitated and sometimes aggressive, but as soon as we play some music she becomes much calmer and dances, or sits in her chair moving her hands and arms to the music. It really is amazing.

I've also just experienced my first art activity at the centre too. We spent a morning making cards (for all occasions) and I found that those who participated (including carers and volunteers) were absorbed in the activity for the whole morning (about 2 hours). Although some reading suggest people with dementia enjoy only the process of being creative, I found that everyone wanted to show off their own work and take an interest in everyone else's. It was great..!

I do think music is more universal, in that those people who are unable to participate in crafting, can appreciate listening/moving to music. However, I appreciate that art can be just as therapeutic. It may be useful to have some examples to help those people who are perhaps not so artistic.

George.., in answer to your question re a chat room dedicated to activities, I don't know of one. However, you might like to look at the book by James R Dowling - Keeping Busy: A Handbook for Activities for Persons with Dementia. ISBN: 0-8018-5059-2.

Also, thanks to all who responded to my initial message. It's really helpful to see how many of you have had positive experiences with music (and other activities). Keep your messages coming : )

Philippa
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Donna N.

Hi Sharon - Thanks so much for the suggestion, I'll check it out!

quote:
Originally posted by Philippa:
Hi Donna,

I know there is research being done to develop an mp3 music playing device at the University of Liverpool. The following link is a bit old (May 2006), but gives an idea of what they are working on: http://www.liv.ac.uk/researchintelligence/issue28/dementia.html

I think in terms of the here and now, Sharon's advice is more beneficial, but there's hope for products in the future.

Best of luck.

Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Donna N.

Hi,

I've noticed my dad still seems to love music too - he immediately starts tapping his fingers when I take him to appointments and have the radio on in the car. I'd love to put some of his CDs maybe on an MP3 player, but haven't found anything super simple yet. Does anyone have any ideas? I have all his CDs, but there's no way anything mechanical (having to insert CDs) or too small will work for him - he'd either break it, put it under the mattress, or who knows what else!, and I can't expect the caregivers to have to keep track. I just want something with a simple play/stop and maybe a volume control. Too much to wish for?
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: D. Johnson

Hi!
I just wanted to say that music definately helps our loved ones with ALZ. I made G'ma several CD's that had waterfalls, birds chirping, and babbling brooks. She would listen and relax and sleep so much better when her music was playing. Her favorite music was playing the afternoon she passed... 10~28~07 and she looked as if she was happy and peaceful.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: SuzRyan

Hi. I'm sorry to hear about your father. My Great Aunt also had dimentia and passed away last year.

About your work - Fabulous. Music is something people can connect with without having to participate by singing or playing an instrument if they are unable to - participation through listening.

I am doing some preliminary research on Dance and Alzheimers after working with physically disabled dancers.

Best wishes with your research.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Ashwathi

hi!

is it possible for a person to enjoy all this once he/she has reachd the middle stage?

thanksSmiler
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: HeArts Delight

Hi,
I am trained at the Masters level in Expressive Arts Therapy and have an extensive background in music as well. In the last year and one-half, my work has focused largely on working with the elderly and those with dementia & Alzheimer's doing a range of arts. I will soon be presenting as part of a complementary therapy panel on how the expressive arts benefits this population. I am hoping to print out some of your responses as evidence of how in everyday life the arts benefit people as well as provide other research-based articles as documentation. Of course, I observe first hand what participating in music, movement, and the arts can do to enrich the lives of those with dementia/Alzheimer's. BTW, I am the youngest daughter of a 98 year old Mom diagnosed with dementia/Alzheimer's.

The arts allow individuals to access their creativity and sensory abilities, preserve their self-esteem through "yes, I can do it!" activities and interact with others. Expressive arts therapy concentrates on process (what is happening in the awareness of the individual within and among his community) and the product is secondary to understanding the emotions and mental processes.

As you all know, music is the universal language and stimulates neurons within the brain.

Please respond to me with your success stories.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

Hi

It's really good to hear that other people are having such postive experiences with music and art, although I think music seems to be most widely enjoyed.

Just a little story to reiterate what you have already said...

I took my keyboard with me to the day centre last week to play well known songs. On one occasion I intentionally played wrong notes (just for fun), in a Les Dawson type fashion. The clients there really laughed when I played the wrong notes - showing that they both recognised when something was played wrongly and also proving their sense of humour is still intact. [This may seem a silly comment, but some people seem to think that when you have a dementia, you must lose all abilities - this is obviously not true.]

Later on, I played a piece using the sound of an accordian, with a carer suggesting everyone sing along, but by making the sound of the bagpipes (I'm in Scotland). Most people joined in, with others watching and laughing. It was really funny.

It was a really good session. It was lovely to see everyone awake, having fun and laughing.

Keep your comments coming - they're really helpful for me and good to hear for everyone else too. Lots of ideas of what to do with friends and family.

Philippa : )
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Catherine Josephine Wisey

I am only 14 and my nan has had Altheimer's for 7 years now, it is really hard at times but when she was more able to move, I really enjoyed dancing around the room with her. Although she wasn't as able to talk it is good memories of her. Seeing as now she just lays in her bed at a special care home and is struggling to eat or respond. It is great to remember good times even if I was much younger..
Also I do remember she loved art, I took art as an option for school, does anyone have any ideas as to how I can portray emotions people with Alztheimer's feel, any ideas will be greatly appreciated, this topic is very personal to me and it would be great if I can involve other people!
Thanks
Catherine x
x
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: GraceyAli

I just joined this MB...what a great topic. I work with the elderly everyday and have been for the past 12 years. I have seen the effects of AD on so many - both the patients and their caregivers. Now my Mom is in the first stages of AD.

My parents have always loved to listen to music & dance. My Dad is so patient, loving and kind with Mom, and always seems to keep her laughing and happy. They bought this house they are living in 2 years ago one for the amount of land and other for the hard wood floors that they can use for a dance floor. I have noticed that when there is music playing, Mom is more receptive and is usually put in a very happy mood. I truly believe that there is something in music that sparks our souls...that is something that cannot be lost.
Phillippa, keep up the wonderful work, what a beautiful way to touch someone's heart!
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:52 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

Hi. Sorry also to hear about your Great Aunt.

Really interesting that you mention participation through listening. I find people think a person is not enjoying the music if they're not moving around or singing, but many of us just like to sit and listen to music - taking it in - and people with dementia are no different.

Your research sounds interesting. I remember one lady who was generally quite agitated, and could often be verbally abusive. However, as soon as music began playing, she would immediately change. If she was standing, she would either dance alone or with one of the carers/volunteers, and if she was sitting she would make quite pronounced arm movements, moving her upper body to the music - her eyes closed. It appeared to be quite a moving experience for her.

I hope your research goes well, and helps to show just how therapeutic activities such as dance/music can be.

Best of luck : )
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: sherryhditt

I used to be an Act. Director and worked in several nursing homes with folks with Dementia. Just by being around these folks you learn how to communicate. I have found the best way to help someone that is confused and emotional, get on their level touch their hand or shoulder and sing a familiar song, sing it over several times, they will start singing with you. I have also used large soft stuffed animals for them to snuggle with as you sing. It does seem to comfort them.
Also humor (laugh at yourself) works in general.
Another example that really works: In the facility. Many say "I just want to go home". You say, well, lets go, walk with them, outside or in another part of the building. Sit down after a while, and say,"tell me about your home." After they do remember long term experiences, usually about their moms, they feel relaxed and are ready to go back to their wing of residence.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: just exhibit love

May I share my mother in-law loves music and we sing the old tunes every day...I am sure that singing them over and over every day helps her remember the words and I can see in her eyes she really enjoys the old songs like the Tennessee Waltz and she also likes to color with crayons but she likes the music best..
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: Catherine Josephine Wisey

I've not cried that much over my nan, I mostly keep thoughts of her current situation in the back of mind, so she is stil there but I can get on with my pwn life, which is so important as I have exams and what not >< .. GAH school ... On break now and my aunt is going ot see my nan tomorrow then come and visit me so I will know how she is doing =]

What you do sounds really fun and helpful. And you are a strong person, being able to talk about your situation and experiences is really helpful and although you've cried doesn't neccesarily make you weak, more of a sensitive person =]. When I used to visit the homes my nan has been in, not only would I stay with her a bit but wonder around talking to other people there, it is really sad to see something people have to put up with, but we must all grow old, it's just life unfortunately.

I thank my experiences in my 14 years on earth for the way I am now and hope I can become a stronger person and help people like you have.

Catherine x
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: Philippa

I wanted to share a moment I had when volunteering at Alzheimer Scotland a few weeks ago. I was taking requests from clients/volunteers for music to play on my keyboard, and "I'm Henry The Eighth" was chosen. As I began playing, another volunteer suddenly sprang up and began taking some balloons that had been on a table. He started to hit them into the air so they would come down near the clients. The response from the clients, carers and volunteers was instant laughter. Everyone was hitting the balloons whilst still singing to the music, or really laughing - we did 4 verses. It was a great moment Smiler
 
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