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Posts Tagged ‘music’

“Where Words Fail, Music Speaks”

“Where words fail, music speaks”

Hans Christian Andersen

We invite you to experience an uplifting cinematic exploration of music and the mind. Alive Inside’s inspirational and emotional story left audiences humming, clapping and cheering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award.

If you are not in Kansas City, Click here to look for this film in your city. 

If you’re in Kansas City, please join us on Friday evening, August 15th at 7:00 at the Tivoli Theater for the premiere of Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory.

Here is a trailer, which has already received more than a million hits: Click here for a Preview of Alive Inside.

Alive Inside follows social worker Dan Cohen as he fights a broken healthcare system to return a deep sense of life to those living with memory loss.

Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to favorite music. He reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power can triumph where prescription medication falls short.

The film features illuminating interviews with experts including renowned neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain) and musician Bobby McFerrin (“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”).

Invite Music & Memory into Your Life

“Music is an outburst of the soul.”

Frederick Delius

Dan Cohen’s Music & Memory program has a simple yet profound tenet: Figure out what music people love and let them listen to it.

This involves creating a personal playlist. Ideally, each song evokes an interesting and positive memory. 

Here’s a song from my playlist:

I am pushing my cart through the neighborhood grocery store when the background music permeates my thoughts. The strains of Summer Place transport me to my growing  up home in Memphis, Tenn. I see myself, age 12, sitting at my beat-up old upright piano, clunkily accompanying myself as I sing. My mother is perched on the piano bench, singing along. “There’s a summer place,” we croon. We do not have great voices but we sound good together. “Where I’ll be safe and warm.” The song offers a moment of respite during a period when Mom and I are not getting along well. Singing together makes us smile and laugh. And now, in the grocery store, in front of the heirloom tomatoes, I smile as the song envelopes me once again, connecting me with my mother, my childhood home, and that piano I earned by doing chores (including picking bag worms off our neighbor’s bushes for a penny a worm.)

What about you? What are the songs that weave through your heart and into your memory?

“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”                      — Khalil Gibran

 

 

Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.

Father’s Day Tips: Four Fabulous Ways to Celebrate When Dad has Dementia

“Dad always liked a big Father’s Day celebration,” my friend told me. “But now he’s deep into dementia; I’m not sure he would notice.”

When Ron’s dad Frank relaxed into dementia, Ron and I often struggled with how to approach Father’s Day. Even though Frank didn’t know what day it was, we still wanted to honor Frank as a father. Here are some of the avenues we explored:

Reminiscing over Favorite Foods

 

We brought in a meal created from some of Franks’ current favorites and some gems from the past. Frank’s wife Mollie made her world-famous brownies and legendary rice pilaf.  We bought cooked steaks and baked potatoes and as we ate, we talked about meals past. Inspired by the familiar tastes, smells and textures, Frank recited one of this favored old phrases: “I’m cool to other women but I’m hot tamale (Hot to Mollie.)”

Naming His Tunes

Frank and Mollie liked to dance occasionally and for one celebration, we printed out song lyrics and sang Frank and Mollie some of their old favorites. We didn’t sound like Sinatra or Fitzgerald as we warbled “It Had to be You,” or “Stardust” or “Three Coins in the Fountain” but we did sound sincere!

Lucky Frank7Life Stories

Ron and I created a HERO Project for Frank, a story-scrap book that incorporated highlights and photos from Frank’s life, along with a meaningful storyline. We also created one for Mollie. We read the HERO Projects with Frank and Mollie, using the stories as conversational catalysts. Frank enjoyed the experience; we enjoyed reading aloud with Frank and remembering shared experiences.

Celebrating Special Qualities and Life Lessons

As we sat together, we talked about some of Frank’s many stellar qualities, which included his easy-going nature, his natural charm, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his willingness to try new things. “Did I really do that?” Frank asked, as Ron described the bowling alley Frank and his brother owned and operated.  “You did,” Ron said.“That was really something,” Frank said.

Frank’s comment summed up our Father’s Day celebration: it was really something. Just being together was wonderful. And taking time to really celebrate Frank with a tender mixture of food, photos, stories, and conversation was pure magic.

For more ideas on Naming His Tunes, please visit the exciting MusicandMemory.org

Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.   

Tune in to the Benefits of Music: Four Noteworthy Tips

This morning, “My Girl” is playing in my head. Yesterday’s tune was “You are my Sunshine.” Music has always woven through my life, a gift from my father, who in his earlier years, worked as a DJ at various radio stations.

Music often worked its magic with my mother during her Alzheimer’s journey. This short excerpt from my story, Bringing Magic to Life, takes place in a memory care unit.

***

Rochelle sticks in another tape and soon Stardust is playing.

Mom looks up and I offer her my hand.

“Want to dance?” I ask her.

“What else,” she says, standing up.

My parents have danced to this song many times, my mother coaxing my father onto the dance floor. I hold hands with Mom and move back and forth to the music. She laughs and does the same. I twirl her, and she walks around in a jaunty little circle. For a moment, her energy and charm have returned. I feel like I have found my long-lost mother. …

***

Four Ways to Inspire Melodic Moments

Dr. Glenn Smith, a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease, recently wrote about Alzheimer’s and music in the Mayo Clinic newsletter. (MayoClinic.com)

He writes:

“Limited research suggests that listening to music can benefit people who have Alzheimer’s disease in various ways.

For example, music can:

  • Relieve stress
  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Reduce agitation

Music can also benefit caregivers by reducing anxiety, lightening the mood and providing a way to connect with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s disease — especially those who have difficulty communicating.”

Here are a few of his suggestions:

  • Think about your loved one’s preferences. What kind of music does your loved one enjoy? What music evokes memories of happy times in his or her life? Involve family and friends by asking them to suggest songs or make playlists.
  • Avoid overstimulation. When playing music, eliminate competing noises. Turn off the TV. Set the volume based on your loved one’s hearing ability. Opt for music that isn’t interrupted by commercials, which can cause confusion.
  • Encourage movement. Help your loved one to clap along or tap his or her feet to the beat. If possible, dance with your loved one.
  • Pay attention to your loved one’s response. If your loved one seems to enjoy particular songs, play them often. If your loved one reacts negatively to a particular song or type of music, choose something else.

To learn more about Dr. Glenn, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/expert-biographies/glenn-smith-ph-d/BIO-20025110

For more about the benefits of music, read Dr. Glenn’s entire article.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/music-and-alzheimers/AN02184

To see our HERO Project that features music, visit

http://thecreativityconnection.com/html/tuning_in.html