Providing music that holds special meaning for the listener taps into emotional memory. No matter how advanced one’s dementia, as long as we can identify music that holds personal meaning from their youth, the odds are good that this will work.
We are physical, intellectual and spiritual beings. Don’t neglect to take care of yourself on any of these levels. When it comes to the physical side, find the outlet that works best for you – but I hope you dance!
With Valentine’s Day approaching, I was thinking about how wonderful it is to be in love and what a gift it is to be able to express your love to someone. Glen’s song, There’s No Me Without You, took on a deeper meaning for both of us as his sense of self began to diminish due to Alzheimer’s.
Perhaps it’s serendipitous that Glen played guitar on this Byrds record more than 50 years ago and it’s just now resonating with me as a caregiver. As the seasons turn, so must we turn away from defeat and depression as caregivers.
Glen loved singing and recording Christmas songs, but always wanted to record “Chanukah” by Marty Goetz. Sadly, Alzheimer’s robbed him of the opportunity to ever properly record it. Here, for the first time, is a home video of the only performance of Glen singing this song.
As I celebrate this Thanksgiving with my husband, I will look into his eyes, hold his hand, kiss him, share a meal and be truly be grateful for the life we’ve shared and the children and grandchildren God has given us.
Dr. Connie Tomaino is a music therapist for individuals suffering from brain trauma or degenerative neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. In 1980, she became the full-time music therapist at the facility where Oliver Sacks’ “Awakenings” took place.