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Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?

Ebbie 27 Jun 00 - 12:07 AM
katlaughing 27 Jun 00 - 12:11 AM
Sorcha 27 Jun 00 - 12:12 AM
Ebbie 27 Jun 00 - 12:29 AM
Night Owl 27 Jun 00 - 12:44 AM
Sorcha 27 Jun 00 - 12:47 AM
Ebbie 27 Jun 00 - 01:00 AM
Musicman 27 Jun 00 - 02:09 AM
Seamus Kennedy 27 Jun 00 - 03:53 AM
Crowhugger 27 Jun 00 - 05:52 AM
Chocolate Pi 27 Jun 00 - 08:47 AM
Bagpuss 27 Jun 00 - 08:54 AM
alison 27 Jun 00 - 10:16 AM
Ebbie 27 Jun 00 - 10:30 AM
SINSULL 27 Jun 00 - 10:54 AM
GUEST,Mrr 27 Jun 00 - 10:55 AM
Mark Cohen 27 Jun 00 - 06:08 PM
wysiwyg 27 Jun 00 - 06:18 PM
Ebbie 27 Jun 00 - 08:53 PM
bflat 28 Jun 00 - 05:13 AM
Marion 29 Jun 00 - 02:07 AM
Ebbie 29 Jun 00 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,open mike 29 Jun 00 - 11:28 AM
Sourdough 30 Jun 00 - 02:08 PM
Sourdough 30 Jun 00 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,margee 11 Mar 01 - 08:25 PM
Wolfgang 12 Mar 01 - 04:43 AM
okthen 12 Mar 01 - 05:40 AM
RichM 12 Mar 01 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,orua 12 Mar 01 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,Old Timer 12 Mar 01 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,Yorkie 12 Mar 01 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,jo 13 Mar 01 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Annie 13 Mar 01 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,treaties 13 Mar 01 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,DrWord 13 Mar 01 - 01:15 PM
GUEST 13 Mar 01 - 05:10 PM
R! 13 Mar 01 - 09:19 PM
GUEST,Lyle 13 Mar 01 - 09:30 PM
Inukshuk 13 Mar 01 - 10:00 PM
Mark Cohen 14 Mar 01 - 11:03 PM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Mar 01 - 05:26 PM
Ebbie 15 Mar 01 - 09:26 PM
blt 15 Mar 01 - 10:14 PM
GUEST,jayadeva 27 Mar 01 - 09:59 PM
GUEST,petr 27 Mar 01 - 10:40 PM
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Dave (the ancient mariner) 08 Jul 06 - 10:46 AM
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Subject: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 12:07 AM

I'm doing some research on how music affects people with various mental disorders, including autism and alzheimers. Somewhere I read that people with even severe loss of memory from alzheimers may still remember and can sing along with songs they learned as a child. Does anyone know if this is true?

And with those of you who have experience with autistic people, may music help bring them 'out'? Thanks.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 12:11 AM

Ebbie, I don't know the answers to your questions, specifically, but, if you haven't already seen an old thread titled "Music Therapy", it is worth a read...good, good stuff in there and it will be nice to see if some of those who posted there will give us some updates and more in this thread.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Sorcha
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 12:12 AM

I don't know for sure, as I have not done any hard research, but I play in Nursing Homes, and it seems to be true in that setting. As for autisim, I have a friend who is in the "Handicapped" field generally, and she says that different people respond to different types/sounds of music. You just have to keep searching until you find the right one. Night Owl may be able to help you more on this.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 12:29 AM

Thanks, you two. I did go back and review those great music therapy threads but I'm looking for anecdotal accounts of specific evidence, things that people here have actually seen occur when music (either vocal or instrumental) was played. Music is so healing I'm just sure there must be evidence to that effect.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Night Owl
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 12:44 AM

Ebbie....hi again. Absolutely, yes!!!! I continue to see daily positive effects of music on neurological functioning. (It continues to amaze me.) I don't think I have any more I can add, if you've already read the "Music Therapy" thread. There was a lot of helpful information others posted in that thread. I still wish we had better documentation, but am beginning to think that the best documentation would be videotaping. Words don't seem to do the "magic" justice.....


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Sorcha
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 12:47 AM

OK, antecdotal: Bob, in the Nursing home and can't remember his kids or their names, but when we start playing sings all the words to songs we do as instrumentals,and then asks for a specific song, and sings the chorus for us. Ed, age 100. Has trouble with the great grand kids names, but asks for tunes he heard in the Army during the Great War I, and remembers all the words. Not sure this is anything other than long vs short term memory, but I think your premise is true.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 01:00 AM

Great start! Just what I'm looking for...Any more?
Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Musicman
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 02:09 AM

emphatically YES!! to both questions.....

lots of stories of songs/smiles and involvement both with Alzhiemers and Autism......

don't have time right now to post... but soon.....

musicman ( a music therapist)


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 03:53 AM

I perform in Old Folk's Homes regularly, and it never ceases to amaze me how the residents will sing along or participate when a certain song is played. Recently I was singing in a Nursing home here in Annapolis. Most of the folks were pretty alert and "with it" but one or two were "out of it and drooling." However, when I sang a particular song, the "droolers" (for want of the correct term) immediately perked up, and tried to sing along, and/or clap along. When the song in question was over, they lapsed into their previous state. Can't explain it, but it's truly heartwarminmg to experience. All the best. Seamus


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Subject: Autism
From: Crowhugger
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 05:52 AM

Years ago I volunteered once a week playing music with special ed kids aged 5 to 12 years. One boy with autism hadn't uttered a sound since coming to that class; the teacher told me it was thought to be his reaction to changing from the pre-school group to school-age group.

About 2 months along, doing Old Macdonald Had a Farm, he sang along for an 'E-I-E-I-O.' The look on his face was one of shining, brilliant delight mixed with the confidence of conquest. I don't know if he ever did it again. Not while I was there (most of the remainder of the school year).


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Chocolate Pi
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 08:47 AM

Grandma used to smile occasionally when us grandkids would lug all our instruments to the nursing home and play "Raisins and Almonds". Mother doesn't let us go see her anymore, says it would be too upsetting.


Chocolate Pi


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Subject: Alzheimers
From: Bagpuss
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 08:54 AM

People with alzheimers tend to lose their more recent memory, especially for specific events. They tend to remember things from their youth - and even believe they are still there. They also have quite well intact procedural memory - which I think learning a song would come under, rather than episodic memory.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: alison
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 10:16 AM

Yes, they certainly remember songs....

I used to work in a geriatric (care of the aged) ward..... when it wasn't too busy I'd drag out a piano and some of us would sing to them.. even the ones who seemed "completely out of it" would respond.... the favourites were songs from the war, and songs they would have learnt in Sunday School as kids like "Jesus loves me".... they'd sing along word for word....

Even ones with bad strokes who can't speak, can sometimes sing along and get the occasional word in.....

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 10:30 AM

Thanks, everybody. Keep 'em coming!

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: SINSULL
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 10:54 AM

I mentioned Aunt May in another thread. She remembered the words to every song written after 1856 and tried to sing them all on my last visit to her. I had brought recordings but she wanted to sing them as she remembered them.There was an almost frantic quality about it. And she wanted someone to remember the songs after she was gone.

I hope I will remember the music when the time comes for me to forget everything else. SS


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 10:55 AM

A little neuro here: while the "memory" for what "words" "mean" tends to be "represented" in the left hemisphere, music tends to be predominantly right-hemisphere. It is well-documented (short for I can't remember any specifics) that left-hemisphere strokes, which often seem to eliminate the normal use of language, often has no (or a markedly reduced) effect on the ability to sing songs. In fact, the more lyrics you know, the less likely you are to be debilitated by a left-side stroke, as even if you can't remember the word Spoon when wanting a spoon, you might be able to sing That Lovin' Spoonful or something and still get your message across. Of course, the more languages you speak and the more X chromosomes you have (up to the normal complement), the less lateralized your brain is to start with, diminishing any "savings" effect of knowing songs.

My field was cognitive, so you'd think I'd know more about dementia, but I don't. I will, however, ask around.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 06:08 PM

I wrote this song, SOUTH STREET WALTZ, based partly on a scene in the movie "Harry and Tonto", in which a man visits an old flame in a nursing home. She doesn't remember him, can hardly move, but when he lifts her up and starts dancing with her, they dance easily and beautifully. I had no idea whether this was "true". (The song started out being about my grandparents, then took a left turn, as songs often do; those grandparents never had Alzheimer's.)

But when I sang the song for the first time at the Seattle Song Circle, a friend came up to me afterward and said that was exactly what happened with his mother, who had been a dancer: she was more or less immobilized from Alzheimer's, but when music was playing she could dance as she always did.

My oldest friend is a neuropsychologist and a musician; I'll see if he has any specific references for you.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 06:18 PM

Yes.

When Hardiman does church services in nursing homes, two events will pull the Alzheimer patients up into a different level of awareness. One is when he approaches each one with communion, never assuming that someone who seems totally out of it is unaware of the Sacrament and therefore not able to receive it. They will often go into a beautifuul child-like posture of cupping their hands to receive... you can almost read from the body language how old they are in that re-experience-- map how far back the level of function is, and then try to relate to them at that level. The other time is when the old hymns are sung. As described above.

Another time, in the homes, is that when he takes his fiddle or mandolin, and plays old stuff, people will respond. This next is off-topic, I guess, but fiddle for nearly-deaf people is great-- the high tones seem to seep through. One old dear burst into tears. Music had been her LIFE and now here she was, warehoused and deaf, and not able to hear radio, church music, tapes, for YEARS... till he played his fiddle right next to her ear. She breathed, "I can HEAR it!....." Imagine yourself in that position, stuck where music cannot reach except in your memory, and then hearing it for real for the first time in years. I guess it isn't so off topic, if you realize that for Alzheimer patients the situation would be similar and even more isolating.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 08:53 PM

Mark, the song is beautiful. All of these postings is beautiful 'stuff'. Thank you.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: bflat
Date: 28 Jun 00 - 05:13 AM

Yes, from my own experience with a friend's wife, who lost most congnitive conversation, came the joy in singing. It was truly remarkable to play songs from her era and see her eyes light up as she participated. Subsequently I heard an expert on NPR speak to this very subject.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Marion
Date: 29 Jun 00 - 02:07 AM

Ebbie, you might also want to check out a thread I started called "Music and the mentally handicapped". I live in an intentional community for adults with mental disabilities (L'Arche), and I spend a lot of time making music with people with Down's Syndrome, and some with autism and Alzheimer's.

Marion


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Ebbie
Date: 29 Jun 00 - 11:12 AM

Thank you,all.

Has anyone done a study on what the results of music therapy are? Can anyone show a definitive difference between before and after? Are the autistic and the disturbed calmer, more 'open' or is the effect only measureable during the music? Is there a difference in how the young respond, versus the elderly?

Does anyone know if a thesis has been written on this?

Musicman and Marion, particularly:would you respond to this? It is such a hopeful object, I would love to learn more about it.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,open mike
Date: 29 Jun 00 - 11:28 AM

Here is an experience with music and stroke patients. The left side of the brain usually deals with things related to language, but if music is involved, it comes from the right side of the brain. Some folks who may have lost the ability to speak may still be able to sing! Often stutterers can sing when they can't speak.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Sourdough
Date: 30 Jun 00 - 02:08 PM

I went to college with a guy who stuttered badly. I was very surprised to see him join the Dramat Society and show up on stage in speaking roles. Off stage he still stuttered. I was even more surprised to see that he soon developed into a gifted comic actor. Today he has a resume which includes network television, Broadway, and Hollywood as a featured actor in both comic and serious roles.

I don't know whether or not he still stutters but I know that for him working with memorized lines, much like memorized lyrics, I would guess, stuttering was not a problem for him.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Sourdough
Date: 30 Jun 00 - 02:17 PM

This is a wonderful thread, isn't it? It includes thoughts of compassion, sharing a passion, truly personal stories, harnessing passion to creative discipline...

New when I recommend Mudcat to others, I am going to make sure that they take a look at this thread as a way of explaining why I like to hang out here.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,margee
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 08:25 PM

Dear Musicman] I am a singer songwriter, and I am going to play for the alzheimer ward where my mom is living now. It is for mother's day and it is a big deal. I have been trying to come up with some response songs and I see you are familiar with that. Could you email me some suggestions. I play guitar, and I can sing about everything. I am at the nursing home alot, I do hair there and I know alot of the residents. They do not know I play guitar so it will be a big surprise for them. I know about 300 songs and I have a very good single act that I do, but I want this to be special with the patient's in mind. Can you help? margee@tumwater.net. Thanks


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 04:43 AM

Yes, memory for songs and lyrics will remain intact in Alzheimer patients, maily for the reaons bagpuss has stated.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: okthen
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 05:40 AM

There was a programme last night on BBC channel 1 called "Fragments of Genius" mainly concerning Savants (gifted children with autism). A doctor doing research into Altzheimers has found that some (altzheimer) patients have changed talents, a stockbroker suddenly became a gifted artist and that similar regions of the brain have been affected in autism and altzheimer.

cheers

bill


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: RichM
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 08:53 AM

I play in a 5 person bluegrass band. The mandolin player is a gifted musician, and a wonderful harmony singing partner. He also stutters very noticeably when speaking--but never when singing.

As for the alzheimer patients, I have played for many of
them in nursing homes. Many of them are almost
catatonic. However, some of them still respond when
they hear music, either by smiling, clapping or foot tapping.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,orua
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 11:48 AM

My father had Alzeihmers and in the early stages seemed to 'revert' to songs from his past - this facility was lost as the disease progresses. Check out Steve Kritzer a wonderfulSinger / Songwriter frim the States. He is a trained psychologist and does a lot of work with older people.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,Old Timer
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 06:29 PM

Oh, are there recent songs? I don't remember any that could be called that.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,Yorkie
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 06:48 PM

Anecdotal. My Aunt, 92, could not remember her name, address, or recognise her family. She could still sing along, even to modern songs(the theme from Neighbours was a favourite). A friend's daughter, brain damaged at birth, and unable to cope with normal lessons, nevertheless joined a ladies choirr, and was able to learn the music, words, phrasing, etc.Another friend, after a serious stroke which robbed him of his speech, was viisited by a musical friend who sang to him, and he was able to sing back in tune.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,jo
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 06:32 AM

Similar story to Yorkie;
My gran had lost almost everything before she died but the last time i met her she suddenly started singing "Lavender's Blue"
I didnt know whether to smile or cry
jo


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,Annie
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 10:43 AM

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with MS. I lost all fine motor control and most of my short-term (and some long-term) memory for a while (funny, but I don't remember how long... ). Most of it's back, and I'm playing (piano, mostly) for barndances again and having a most wonderful time. Technically, my playing will never be what it once was, but I'm a much better musician now because I'm so utterly joyful to be able to play that I don't care about any of the self-focus stuff that used to get in the way of The Music. What a blessing!

To answer the original question, however: I have lots of problems learning new lyrics now and have pretty much given up on memorization of anything classical, but the old stuff comes back freely, most of the time. What I learned before I got sick, I still have. Weird. Wonderful!


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,treaties
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 10:47 AM

Writing this with tears in my eyes, this is a beautiful thread. Like most people the dread of ever having altheimers is very real.Songs and music have been a joy to me all my life and long may it continue so.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 01:15 PM

Yes, yes and yes! Music with the frail elderly must have more than an at-the-time effect, for patients who are largely unresponsive perk up when they see the instrument cases coming in! The toe-tapping, the recollection. Our local paid music therapist says that people remember best what was "on the hit parade" when they were adolescent|twenty-something . Beautiful thread! I feel blessed to be able to volunteer at a care home in the capacity of musician.

Dennis


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 05:10 PM

Don't have any technical knowledge on this, but I was fascinated by an article I read a year or so ago which said that just recalling a song (not necessarily singing it, but thinking it through), got the neurons firing in much the same way as actualy singing it. I find any programme about the brain compulsive viewing; saw some of the on last Sunday about Savants.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: R!
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 09:19 PM

When my Dad first contracted Alzheimers I used to keep him entertained - he was still living at home at the time - by playing old records on the victrola. We'd even dance occasionally. He would happily sing and listen to those records for hours. After he entered the nursing home I wanted him to be included in the goings-on. And believe me, in the Alzheimers ward, they really are goings-on! I'd get a little group together and we'd sing songs from the 20s, 30s, and 40s. I even did the Charleston for the old gals a few times. Some would sing along, others just beat time. I am no performer; can't play an instrument or even carry a tune. I don't even know how I knew these songs. I got good participation from this little group, though, despite the fact that I was singing in the early evening - the most difficult time for Alzheimers sufferers.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,Lyle
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 09:30 PM

Ebbie: You asked specifically about AlzheimerÕs patients, but much of the feedback you have received is about dementia's in general. The answer to your specific question is yes during the first stage, with diminished capacity to remember during the second stage. Recognition will decrease to the point where they may be able to hum along and show some spark of familiarity, and eventually even that recognition disappears. The point to ALWAYS remember with AlzheimerÕs is to treat them with the dignity they deserve whether they recognize you or anyone around them.

Lyle


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Inukshuk
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 10:00 PM

Ruby was a vivacious little professional musician who suffered from a particularly rapid onset of Altzheimer's. No longer able to recognize her own family, or carry on a coherent conversation, she sang beautifully and remained very cheerful. She showed no interest in the piano, however, although she had been a real wizard. For months she continued to sing throughout most of the day. Then in a period of a couple of weeks her songs were gone. She became bewildered. In a couple more weeks she was gone. Poor Ruby, I still have a stack of her sheet music including one signed for her by Rudi Valee.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 11:03 PM

In case anyone might be interested, I've just sent Joe Offer the tune to my song, South Street Waltz, which was mentioned in my post above from last year. So the tune should be available sometime soon, either in the DT or on Alan's MIDI page. Right, Joe?

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 05:26 PM

Here's an anecdote. A month ago I did a short concert in a nursing home for Alzheimer's patients. Response to instrumental pieces is lukewarm, but many were singing along with "Five foot two, eyes of blue" and "The Saints Go Marching In." We are going to add more old vocal favorites to our repertoire.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 09:26 PM

Today three of us (2 fiddles, 1 guitar) played for the first time at an adult daycare center, doing a wide range of waltzes, jigs and reels to singalong traditionals. We had a great time. We played longer than we'd agreed to because of the response.

Afterward a staff member told us that one woman who normally refuses to talk said on her way out to the waiting home-bound van, "This will be a hard one to top!" Made my day, not because we were so good but because we were so good for her.

I wonder if the first person who ever hummed a self-made tune was aware of the tremendous value of music.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: blt
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 10:14 PM

Two years ago, I did a dance/movement therapy internship in a nursing home, working primarily with Alzheimers, dementia, stroke and disabled elderly patients. I will never, never forget the day I brought my guitar in.

The group was held in the dayroom, the interns (3 of us)and the group leader would sit on "wheelie chairs"--stools that we rolled around on--as the group carried on. This particular day, I brought my guitar, played a little as the group warmed up by batting balloons around, then decided to roll around the group with my guitar, giving it to each person to hold. It was as if I were giving folks the holy grail. Some would look at me in complete wonder, run a fingernail softly across the strings, and then gaze back at me with a look I'm not sure I can describe. One man, mute, felt the windings of the lower strings and showed more energy and emotion in his face than I had ever seen him display. Another woman touched the wood and looked at me, raised her arms and said, "Beautiful, beautiful," and laughed. A woman who had been very withdrawn sat up suddenly in her wheelchair and belted out a very stirring anthem in Norwegian.

After that experience of simply touching the instrument, I rolled to the middle of the circle and began to play Waltz Across Texas. We also sang as a group You Are My Sunshine and Make New Friends. When the waltz began, several people smiled and the other interns began to dance with them. The music was like a switch, appearing to suddenly stir memories in a very individual way. We used music constantly during the group, but taped music did not seem to have the same effect as live music. For one, the taped music was difficult for everyone to hear and sometimes the music reflected the tastes of a younger age group.

There are several web sites that address using creative arts therapies in general; type in "creative arts therapy" or "music therapy" into a search engine and you should come up with something useful. Also, there are publishers that focus on creative arts therapies, such as Stern's and Jessica Kingsley. Amazon.com also will provide a list of resources (you don't have to purchase anything, but it's a good way to compile a bibliography).

blt


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,jayadeva
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 09:59 PM

Ebbie - an article in the Telegram and Gazette, the daily newspaper of Worcester, Massachusetts recently related that a large group of people with Alzheimer's led by one man and his wife with Alzheimer's sing and remember the words to the football theme song of their college, College of the Holy Cross, also in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Telegram and Gazette is available online at telegram.com. I think the stories are archived. The name of the song is "Chu Chu, Rah, Rah!" or something like that. Yes -- people with Alzheimer's often remember songs. I also wrote an article for the Worcester Magazine, a weekly newspaper in that city about a music therapist who worked with a man with Alzheimer's who could play the piano. He advanced in communications skills through it. Also - she works with developmentally challenged children. Hope this has been a help. As soon as I can find the article on the music therapist, I will type it in and send it to you.

best, jayadeva


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 10:40 PM

I had worked with autistic children for a few years and definitely music was always a positive experience.

I even started a little music program where we sang songs used a computer to write & play music, and one child even composed his own tunes, (he was high functioning and could play the piano quite well) They were quite good compositions too although he never wanted to save them (which I respected). Other children had a talent for music and one boy (who was blind) was a beautiful singer, sometimes you'd get a shiver down your back when he sang it was so good. (being precocious in some areas is not uncommon for autism)

But each child was completely different and each functioned at his own level, and you can always interact with them at their own level. Some have a talent for music and others dont but pretty much all of them enjoy it.

petr


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 09:03 PM

Refresh, because I've recently learned that my dad has Alzheimers. He and his wife recently moved to Seattle, across the continent from me. I will be visiting in August, and hope to bring a repertoire of songs from my childhood that he knew and loved.

My sister just returned from a short visit and said the changes in him were heartbreaking.

Any other suggestions will be gratefully received!


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 11:20 PM

My mother could sing songs we sang together right up to the end. Short term memory loss is the most prevalent form of this disease, she could recognise everyone but not remember you were there to visit her the day before. Music remained important to her, and she would sit down and listen to it every occasion she could.

I was told a story about a man who would rush to share lunch with his wife at a nursing home every day he could. Towards the end a friend asked him why he was in such a rush to get there in time, when his wife no longer recognised him or even acknowledged he was there beisde her. He replied, because I know who she is.

Take your music, sing your songs, be comforted that he is your dad and that you know he likes them, and still loves you despite having his mind damaged by a disease.

Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: NormanD
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 06:48 AM

I've posted on a similar theme to this elsewhere on this site, the discussion is well worth repeating.

My mother-in-law is aged 90 and a care home resident. She has some form of dementia, with consequent short-term memory loss and constant repetition. She likes singing those songs she remembers from her days as a primary school teacher when she would lead and conduct the kids. We sing songs from the National Song Book, which was extensively used in UK schools a few decades back. This consists of trad and folk songs from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. What is amazing is how familiar most of these songs are to me, who has never sung them (or even considered them) for decades.   

Another Mudcatter, Greg Stephens, kindly sent me a copy of this book after I appealed here for one. The book he sent was dog-eared but intact - perfect, in fact, as it was in a duplicate state to the one she remembered. The book alone, never mind the contents, was a strong reminiscence tool. And she remembered all the songs, and now conducts us in our singing.

Singing is such a powerful activity - but it's the singing with people, and not singing for them, or at them where the power lies. Entertainment has its place but active involvement does so much more to improve a person's quality of life, even in small ways. Holding someone's hand while you listen to the radio together, or hum along together, can mean so much. As you get old and, usually, isolated, it's not just your mind and senses that go - you often don't get touched any more.

It's really painful and upsetting to be with someone in mental decline you've known and loved for years: the shell is there but with little inside. Singing together is better than silence and sadness. Yes, often the songs remain, but finding the right "trigger" is often the difficult part.

Norman Druker


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: JedMarum
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 10:05 AM

One day the home I was playing lined up all the little old Alzheimer ladies in 10 rows of five. All nice and square, all in various stages of loss - but they were late stagers, for sure.

I talked to them and to the rest of the folks in the room like I normally would - and sang a mix of songs, but stayed pretty much with old ones. Within a few songs some were singing, some sat up and noticed and some moved their mouths, as if they were singing. One little old lady actually asked for songs - told me about her father's favorites and so forth. She seemed pretty much more with it then the others. Afterwards, the nurse told me that lady had been there for 5 months and she had never uttered a single word before that session.

There is MAGIC in song!


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: JedMarum
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 10:13 AM

I love to sing to these folks. I do a few every month - and wish I could more. My mother also suffers from Alzheimer's. She and my Dad stayed with my wife and me for about a year, when she was in the mid-stages.

He's gone now, and she's in a home back in New England. When I go to visit - I'll go three days in a row and she never remembers the previous visits! She always remembers who I am when I walk in the door - but sort of looses the thread by the time I leave.

Singing to the folks here in Dallas in nice. I can't sing at my mother's place, 1200 miles away - but I can sing for someone else's mother or father here in Dallas. It's a good trade off.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: JedMarum
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 10:32 AM

I wrote this song for my Mom:

THE LOCKET

She came wandering through the door
Reached a hand inside her pocket
There was something there
She wanted me to see
It was a picture of her Mom
That she keeps inside a locket
The same photograph she shows me everyday.

In the quiet afternoon
Over tea we shared the stories
From a world she knew before she came of age
Then sang and danced a tune
We recalled the says of glory
And the time before this confusion
And the rage

CHO; I know the end is closer very day
Memory and reason fade away
And I wonder does she know
Could she say my name today
Then I wonder does that matter anyway

Well years they can be kind
And the years they can be cruel
When the years spin by there are no guarantees
Now she's worn away by time
And the time has been cruel
When she looks at me I'm not sure who she sees
CHO

Now and then there glows a light
Now and then a shining moment
Now and then a memory lights my mother's face
And I hope her moments shine
And I wish here moments linger
And I pray these moments fill her days with grace
CHO


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 10:46 AM

And when her mind it drifts away
and her face is lined with pain
we'll sing the songs of yesterday
and rekindle joys she made
for her we'll all remember
and those memories never fade


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 12:13 PM

Lovely songs Jed and Dave.

Jeeneia, It is so important to sing the old songs for the old people! Yes, it stimulates their memory.

A lot is not known about this process but there's empirical evidence that helping them to recall the old songs (the one's they grew up with and heard on the radio) helps to stimulate their memories and reactions. My wife and I sing for senior facilities and we see the audience drop off years of their lives and become animated and young again.

Older people are ignored by society.


Here's a scandal for you regarding the elderly here in Georgia.
The sad part is that here in Georgia, the ID's that they were supposed to have to vote are being kept by the State Republicans. They claim that voter ID's will keep fraud down by keeping dead people from voting. But the awful truth is that the State Republicans control the ID's by using them when the people who they belong to can't. Older people in Georgia don't have them. It's fraud.

When you sing the old songs, you revive the old people.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 12:43 PM

With Alzheimers- do songs remain?

Powerfully.

When Hardi and I lead and play at nursing home services, the staff know that it is very worthwhile to bring even the most-deteriorated patients from the Alzheimer (or stroke) floor. These patients come in wheeled in chairs, on beds, or nested in vinyl recliners, looking entirely moribund and/or absent. They are often the first to chime in on an old hymns, faces transfigured. Some, past being able to sing, just transfigure. Or nod along in time, or exclaim Bible verses.

Our experience of this is one thing-- after all, we might merely be gratifying ourselves with a fantasy that the people respond. But the STAFF-- now we're talking about a significant allocation of resources. To see the institution allocating resource is a strong affirmation of what we can only hope is true.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Jeri
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 01:21 PM

Allison, I'm sorry. I don't know if it would be helpful, but maybe you could record some of the songs for him to liten to when you're not there. Perhaps you could learn some songs from his childhood as well.

Although I have no personal experience with Alzheimers, I think it's like a lot of other things, and it's what Jed's song addresses: you make the most of what's there and leave regret. I hope things go as easy as possible, and there are many shining moments.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Cruiser
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 04:30 PM

Excellent song Jed.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 06:04 PM

I work at a place that was started 50 years ago, for 'retarded' children as they were known then. There are still a few originals and a wide range of ages in the adult community (and more coming on at the school as well).
My little group consists mainly of ageing Downsies and several of them have progressed onto Alzheimers. (Did you know, the Down's gene makes you a candidate for Old timer's disease, somewhere in your late 50s? Insult to injury!)
Anyway, last Friday I took my accordian to work and at the end of the afternoon I started playing a few Morris tunes. My oldies were up and swaying to the music but I was surprised to see one of our visitors responding. This is an autistic man, in his 30s, who has no speech, he's a real headbanger who has to have his own minder so he doesn't hurt himself or others. He scares me because he's so big and often out of control.
He was just passing as I started playing 'Saturday night on' and his normally vacant face lit up with a smile (I've never seen him smile before!) and he started moving to the music too. I played it through several times and he was having a great time but at the end of the tune I stopped and his minder removed him - we didn't want him to get too excited as he was likely to start getting violent and he had started jumping around. But it was a very interesting experience.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Cruiser
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 07:52 PM

My stepfather died last week from complications associated with Alzheimers just a few days before reaching his 84th birthday. Two years ago I asked him to play some songs on the fiddle even though his hands were inflexible from arthritis, he had not played much in years, and his mind was basically gone from what it once was. He played "Corinna, Corinna" and "I Got That Old Fashioned Love in My Heart", 2 songs that Bob Wills made popular with his western swing band. I had only heard my stepfather play those songs once, many years before when I asked him to play them. I asked him again to play those tunes 2 months ago while visiting him. He was so weak and confused, even on a good day for him, that he could bearly scratch out "Corinna" and "Old Fashioned Love". He did, however, still remember them 2 months before his death

It was obvious that he retained those tunes in his mind even though he often said he could not remember how to play or did not know how to play the fiddle when asked to do so. However, once he had a fiddle in his hands he would immediatley start doodling out tunes.

His fiddles will now be mine and as think ahead I dread the prospect that I will suffer the same fate...

Cruiser


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 08:33 PM

Wonderful stories, folks. Thanks for all the kind words and wonderful ideas. I do hope to make a recording, Jeri, to bring along and leave behind. He loved a lot of obscure classical stuff as well as the Irish Rovers and Clancy Brothers (he gave me my first intro to Irish music that way!), Polish polkas, Swedish songs and mazukas- anything with a jaunty beat. He also introduced me to Pentangle and Ravi Shankar, during his midlife crisis in the early 70s!

It'll be tough to figure out what songs to bring. I know I'll think of some!


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 08:56 PM

My girlfriend used to work in a nursing home. One of the old ladies had been the director of a church choir before getting dementia. She spent almost the whole time slumped in a chair without speaking a word.

One day they happened to have "Songs of Praise" on (a radio programme that's basically all hymns). She suddenly stood up with tremendous dignity and began to conduct the radio, following every inflection of the performance and finishing exactly with the broadcast choir, arms outstretched and looking up into the distance out of the window.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Bentley
Date: 09 Jul 06 - 07:54 PM

I have a friend who is 80 years young. A lot of the time,he can't remember what day of the week it is,but boy,can he let rip with the old music hall stuff.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 Jul 06 - 10:05 PM

Now ya done gone and made me cry again......
More songs...
Just Because
White Cliffs of Dover
Marie
Any Duke Ellington
Red Sails in the Sunset
My Blue Heaven
Tea For Two
Any Bob Wills
Any WWII songs...Filipino Baby, Have I Stayed Away Too Long, Rainbow at Midnight, etc
Any patriotic song in what ever country. America the Beautiful, etc
Any Stephen Foster most places
Shine On Harvest Moon
Wild Irish Rose
Rose of Tralee
Sweet Rosie O'Grady
Bird in a Gilded Cage
When Gold turns to Silver, or summat like that
Anniversary Waltz

I could go on for a long time.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Jul 06 - 12:20 PM

I sat down to login recently and was distracted whilst I was doing it. When I looked at what I had automatically typed in - I was shocked to see the old work login number that I had once used everyday for about five years.

I have not used it, needed to or even thought about this number for over ten years. I am quite sure that if I have needed to come up with it - even under torture - that I would not have been able to.

But it is all still in there................


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Scoville
Date: 10 Jul 06 - 04:58 PM

My grandmother remembered songs she'd known for decades but couldn't learn new ones, which pretty much makes sense.

Ha! I forgot my own phone number the other day. Came back to me a few minutes later but for a moment it was just kaput.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: dulcimer42
Date: 10 Jul 06 - 07:47 PM

I played hammered dulcimer at a nursing home for Catholic nuns. I'm not Catholic, and really didn't know what to play. Guess what really had them tapping their toes, and some of them singing? Golden Slippers.    Sort of surprised me.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Jul 06 - 10:48 AM

Couple more songs
Whispering
When You're Smiling


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: GUEST,Rumncoke
Date: 12 Jul 06 - 10:45 AM

I used to keep an index of my songs - just the titles, but I began to be unable to remember how to start them, so I got some good quality printer paper folded some booklets and started to write out every song completely.

I made them up into a book before I realised I had left out part of Tam lin - but I doubt I will ever need it. Once I get past verse three of a ballad I can usually keep going. It is normally something with three or four verses I muddle up.

More recently I have taken the book with me to folk festivals because I got worried about forgetting words.

A young man sat down and told me that I ought to learn the songs rather than read them because it wasn't the right way to do it. I tried to explain that they were not songs I was trying to remember, but songs I did not want to forget, but he did not appear to understand the difference.

I have had to write out another several hundred songs because other people are beginning to forget the words to them, or they hear a rather poor version of it and sing that instead of what I think of as a better one that used to be sung decades ago.

Now I don't forget tunes, never have done - I used to be able to remember a song and its tune after hearing it just once, but that was a long time ago. I sing 'Bitter withy' as I heard it at the Portsmouth Polytechnic Folk Club at The Star in Lake Rd in late 1969 or early '70 played by a man wearing trousers that must have been made out of old curtains, who played an accordion. But without the strong nasal tone.

Having just sung it though with only one hitch I can still(sometimes) recall it, though not perform it flawlessly first time. I always was more a singer than a performer.

I supose I have the first inkings of some form of dementia.

It would perhaps be relvant to point out that the forgetting does not hurt - it is how other people treat you when your memory fails that causes the pain.


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Subject: RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain?
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 May 13 - 10:56 AM

Looking for a different subject I came across this old thread. I love it.


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