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Music and art activities help
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: George L

Music has been the most important aspect of S's life. S is a man of 84 living in a memory unit. His life always included music especially songs of the 20's, 30's and 40's. In spite of being in the mid stage of Alz. he can recall the words to practically any song written by Berlin, Porter, Rogers & Hart, etc. The caregivers at the unit have learned that S hates to get up, talks about dying, gets verbally abusive. They have started bringing in a cd into his room, putting on a disc and leaving him alone for about 10 minutes. When they return, he's wide awake singing and ready to get up. I think music is better therapy than any medication. The problem is keeping it going all day long.
Question: Is there a chat room dedicated to activities (other than music) that can enrigh the lives of those with alz.?
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: kymomof3

I take care of my 83 yr old M-I-L and she too loves too sing . She can't stand it when I have household chores to do and will yell for me every 3 minutes or so. What I do when I really need to get things done is sing like the southern pearchers daughter I am. My husband has come home several times and caught me singing "One Day At A Time" at the top of my lungs. Now a days that song seems to be my theme song. God bless each of you and I know though we feel we go thru hell on earth somedays.... We'll all meet in Heaven for the love, patience and understanding we show our AD loved ones.
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
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: 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: Steph7

My mother listens to music on her ipod for hours. She sings and dances while listening. It keeps her occupied and gives me pleasure to see her so happy.It also gives me a break.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: Sandy J.

My mom doesn't know how to work the VCR or CD player. And other peoples concerns over hiding or breaking CD's or IPODS... I was just thinking that some TVs with cable or satelite now have XM radio channels they have multiple channels with different decades, brodway showtunes, classical, hymns,... This might be away of letting them listen with out having to worry about a lot of gadgets.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: Studio_Sinaloa

Not sure if this is entirely on topic, but my Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 2 years ago. She used to love listening to music,...would play Sinatra and Tony Bennett full blast on the stereo, but now she has absolutely zero interest in music. Just wants to sleep all day...I mean like 18 -20 hours a day! Is that normal part of Alz?

Anyhow, I am an artist, and I am trying to organize a big charity art auction on Ebay to benefit Alzheimer's research. It seems a lot of the artists I talk to on Ebay's discussion boards are also dealing with aging parents with Alzheimer's, so we are thinking maybe we can do a big charity benefit art auction to raise funds for Alz research.

We are just in the very beginning stages of planning, (we're thinking we might do it in June '08 on Ebay) so if anyone has any suggestions as to which organizations are the best to donate any proceeds to, that'd be helpful. And please visit my blog http://www.Art4Alzheimer's.blogspot.com
Thanks!
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: Calypso

My mom has always liked the classic music and when it was not sick it was always a good relaxation way, but since she has AD she sits down to listen it and she cries so much that it puts me nervous, she scares me a lot that it passes her something, she says that she reminds her siblings, recently deceaseds (in March of the 2004 and in September of the 2005). I wonder if it will be some type of masochism. Don't I know that to make, she adores music , but will it be harmful that makes suffer so much instead of comforting her?
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: Steffie

My grandma was always a great dancer. She and my grandpa used to jitterbug all the time. She is now in the advanced stages of alz, but still remembers how to do the jitterbug. It's so amazing! She got right on the dance floor at my wedding and jitterbugged with my aunt. She still remembers! Smiler
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: Lisa Ann

My grandparents were both musicians in a big band. Grandpa played bari sax and Grandma played piano. Grandma still enjoys playing, although she is always hard on herself when her fingers don't do what they are supposed to do.
It is amazing how she can play hundreds of songs off the top of her head.

She still loves to read whether it be the news paper, a book, or a magazine. However, sometimes I think she is just reading words-not absorbing the sentences.

Grandma likes to go along shopping -any kind of shopping as long as there's people watching- in her wheelchair. I call it her personal chariot. She also loves to ride in the car.

We take her to sing-alongs at local assisted living homes. She likes the live music and knows all the songs.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: Stits

Something that my wife loves to do is color with crayons. It really has been a saving grace to have something she enjoys to keep her busy. We started with children's coloring books, but she started to think she was like a little child with these, so i found a source for adult coloring books now. She will give her colored pictures to anyone she can and saves a lot of them for our grandchildren (who are all teenagers). Usually she will also place them around the house and at night when she is sleeping I will throw most of them away and she never asks what happened to all her colored pictures. But it keeps her busy for many hours a day.

She also does like music a lot more than she ever did before she had AD. In church when the choir is singing, or someone is singing a solo, she will try to sing along with them. Usually it sound like she actually knows all the words, but if you watch closely you can see that she is singing words that have already been sung. We found a group here where we live called a drumming circle. People bring drums and sit around and beat them in a pattern following a leader. She may not keep the best of the beat, but she enjoys herself and the others don't seem to mind.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: SylviaE

Once a week I have "choir practice" at the assisted living facility my mother lives at. We usually start with our faithful six or seven ladies. By the time we are through there are 16 to 20 people there! We sing primarily hymns, but I also do secular songs - folk songs, fun songs from the fifties and sixties, etc. Then we go back to the hymns. Even for the not-so-religious ones they seem to enjoy those the best.

Singing is good for you on so many levels! Physically it helps promote good breathing - oxygen to the brain is always a good thing! It exercises the mind to read or remember the words and how to make your voice go up or down the right way. Sharing a fun experience with other people is good on an emotional level. The words of a hymn often give comfort in a unique way. Who hasn't been touched just listening to Amazing Grace?

Our choir practices tend to become a mini-worship service, even with the secular songs. When the head nurse's National Guard Unit was called to Iraq we had a spontaneous prayer service for her and the other going with her.

These ladies wait for Monday so we can sing together. If I'm there after supper and have the time I'll just sit and play the piano for them as they mill about. Music can touch a person in a way nothing else can.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: Catherine Josephine Wisey

Thank You for all your help Philippa.
I do try and talk to my family alot I feel it is good to be open I just find I am lost for words sometimes and don't feel I should make them more upset than they already are. They know how I feel and I hope we don't have to feel this way for too long.
So tell me what you do in cause of dementia realted illnesses at this day centre, how do you find it? You seem a really strong person.

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

Thanks!
That's really helpful, I saw her on the weekend and I am the sort of person who is rather confined with how I actually feel and can hardly every cry, even if I feel like it. But seeing her, she is very frail. We all know as a family she will not live long, she has lived longer than expected of her already, it's all just a matter of waiting we feel. This going through my mind a few tears fell from my eyes, which quite suprised me. I find it really hard to say goodbye, I hope my family don't see me as being rude for leaving abruptly when we start to go. It's not selfish of me is it to not want to see her, is it?
I am glad I have found this site, it is really helpful to understand more about the disease and really helps me to feel not so alone.

Thanks again.
Catherine x
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: LaRue

Phillipa,

Music has been a saving grace for me, especially whenever I am just about to go down for the third time.

When my mother is at her most difficult, I will leave the room for a minute and then upon reentering the room I will walk in singing a hymn, or a song she used to sing when we were young, and she will just join right in. By the time that the song ends, she has forgotten that she was upset and I have almost forgotten that I want to bang my head against the wall. Almost, but not quite.

Each summer I have flown my mother and her husband to Texas and then driven them through Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana so that they could visit with family and friends. They enjoy those trips, tremendously, but I will admit that they wears me down both physically and mentally.

My stepfather is very hard of hearing and my mother is repetitive. Add those two things together and you get to hear her say the same thing 9 times, each time she makes a comment to him.

He refuses to wear his hearing amplifier.

She cannot sit quiet and enjoy the scenery.

My solution is to pop in CDs of music they know and then the three of us sing our way down the highway.

If my mother is being difficult, I just turn up the radio and she eventually forgets the issue and begins singing.

At home we have other avenues of dealing with issues, but when I am locked in a car with those two - music has been the solution to many a problem!

My mother sang in the choir at her church up until last year when a friend/choir member told me that it was time for her to quit the choir.

She has problems with reading, but knows every hymn by heart and so she just holds the hymnal (sometimes upside down) and sings from memory.

Music is the tie that binds in this house.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:53 AM
Originally posted by: Catherine Josephine Wisey

Yeah, that's all my nan does now, is just sleep, can can't even feed or cloth herself, she is completely reliable on other people, it's like she isn't even a person. I'd say it is a part of the shutting down of the brain, because tangles are formed in the memory, language and such like parts of the brain and over a period of time cause the barin to shrink due to large gaps in it.. My art project is really helping me to understand because of all my research, it is important to understand it all..

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

When my grandmother was 90 I made her a TwiddleMuff which she kept in her lap. It works like an old-fashioned muff to keep hands warm but has a variety of interesting gadgets to keep hands busy. The tactile stimulation is soothing for agitated individuals and the soft, soft fabric is comforting. Inside is a soft squeezie ball to keep fingers moving. They are now sold in both cat and puppy versions as well as a more 'dignified' plaid and purple. And yes, they are machine wash and dry to make cleaning easy! Has anyone else tried the TwiddleMuff?
 
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