You may recall my earlier blog posts about
caring for my aging parents.
I thought I would update you about further
help that’s out there for your mom or dad
who may have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease
or other memory issues.
My parents, both in their late 80s, were
residing in a memory care institution in Maryland.
Mom has Alzheimer’s, and Dad had some dementia.
Dad passed away in 2013 and Mom remains
in the same facility.
Since Dad’s passing, which wasn’t nearly as
hard on my mother as myself – due to her
memory issues – Mom has needed more
stimulation to keep her from sleeping most
of the day away.
Most of the other residents in her cottage are
non-verbal, so it was only staff members who
would engage her in real conversation. Don’t
get me wrong, the staff is WONDERFUL where
she is. But they have their duties to fulfill for a
number of clients and they aren’t there to be
companions to individuals.
Because I’m a thousand miles away in Florida,
I would call Mom every couple of weeks or so
and chat her up, telling her about things I’m doing
and talking about subjects she’s familiar with.
Because the “correct” words were no longer
coming out of her mouth,
I rely on Mom’s tone of voice whether she
was understanding me or not.
But I felt Mom needed more contact than phone calls.
So when the elder care organization I used
called to say that they were starting a program
of “angels” to go and be companions for
individuals for an hour or so, I jumped at it.
Because the elder care agency knows my mom,
they paired her with a woman who loves music
and singing. This lady is indeed an angel. She
brings her “boom box” to Mom’s room twice a
week and they listen to CDs of classical music,
Broadway show music and sing along.
Now Mom’s face lights up when her “angel” enters
the room. She starts singing as soon as the CD starts,
and their singing and laughter they brings other
residents and staff to Mom’s room because they
think there’s a party going on!
Together Mom and her “angel” create positive energy
enough to affect the entire cottage! It’s fantastic.
You may have read that the medical profession is
discovering that, in many cases, music can bring
Alzheimer’s sufferers out of their isolation. The
memories of songs from long ago rarely are
erased. Suddenly they feel connected again to
something familiar. The joy on their faces says it all.
And, of course, they never tire of hearing the
same song over and over again because the
short term memory is dysfunctional!
My mom’s favorite song is “Moon River.” It plays
all day and all night in her room and she is happy,
content and smiling a lot!
And that says it all for me!