I just want to share that my mother's upward turn as a result of what we might call music therapy has continued. It is amazing.
I think the key is that the c.d.'s we are playing for her now were from her own collection. Before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's she'd had time to become very familiar with these melodies and also with the words to many of the songs that are instrumentals. I was amazed today when she knew most of the words to the song, "Paper Moon..." and they are not easy lyrics!
You'd think it would have occurred to me to work hard to provide music she knew--and in a way, it had. I'd recorded I-tunes selections of familiar hymns for her. And I've written about 50 devotions accompanied by midis of familiar hymns (ten of those are posted here). But while she enjoyed these and obliged me by listening to the melodies and singing along a bit, they did not have the strong positive impact for her cognitively as have the big band, jazz, and popular music from the 60's and 70's that she had selected and enjoyed for herself.
This is just another lesson in treasuring and preserving the individuality of our dementia patients. I knew music was a Good Thing--but how silly of me not to link that knowledge to that stack of c.d.'s in the box in Mom's closet. Because the Sirius music channels on our DISH TV were so easy to access, I spent a lot of time playing pleasant music that did not link to specific memories for her as her own collection has.
My next project is to go through her record album collection with her and see which albums seem to trigger the strongest memories--and then we'll begin the expensive process of finding those albums on i-tunes and recording them to c.d. format...I don't think Mom is ready for an i-pod of her own. But who knows?!