In the past, I have blogged about my experience with Alzheimer’s disease as it affected my parents. There is a lot to be done to eradicate this disease, but it appears that we’ve made some headway. The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an increase of $414 million in the budget for Alzheimer’s research. If passed, the total national funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia research will total $1.8 billion!
If we are to meet the national goal of the prevention and successful treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by the year 2025, there will be increased need for funding. But this is a great start.
Meanwhile, those of us caring for loved ones with this disease continue to learn of ways to alleviate the overall devastation of battered memories and loss of self. Music therapy continues to be a valuable tool, bringing joy and awakened memories among patients. So it was heartwarming to hear of a more public figure becoming involved in music therapy.
Miss America contestant Victoria Huggins, the current Miss North Carolina, learned early-on that her great-grandmother seemed to regain memories when Victoria sang songs from her great-grandmother’s era. Soon she started singing for the whole nursing home community. The singing even caused one elderly patient to recognize her husband, whom she had failed to remember for several weeks, because she heard “their song!”
Now Victoria is providing ipods loaded with playlists of songs to nursing homes throughout North Carolina in order to bring joy to residents suffering from memory issues. Other states have already implemented funding for music therapy, but this Miss America hopeful has taken it upon herself to fill the gap until funding is available in North Carolina.
I have firsthand knowledge of how music awakens the soul, as I have witnessed it with my mother. Even singing with her over the phone brings a smile to her face and she always joins in singing with me.
And you know what? Even if your voice sounds terrible, the patient doesn’t notice because they feel so good just hearing music they recognize!
I’m making a list of songs now so my kids will know what to sing to me. Just in case…