Alzheimer's Support Network


June 19th 2012:  Complementary Therapies: Music and Massage 
Karla Mramor and Marianne Appleby from Avow Hospice



Part 1:  Music and the Brain

From June 19th 2012:  Karla Mramor of Avow Hospice talks about Music Therapy.
.  In this clip she discusses how music is stored in the brain, and how it can be used productively to tiger memories, and to sooth.

Below is a short video showing the power of music:


Part 2: Making Music Work for You


Part 3:  Questions and Stories


Part 4:  What Turns the Music Off

How can you laugh about forgetting?

by Alzheimer’s Support Network (Sep 8th 2012)

In the clip above we have a fairly common moment, where we joke about our own faulty memories.   Most people share this moment, and can laugh.  Some cannot.  And with a scowl they will ask:

How can you laugh about forgetting?  How can you laugh at this awful disease?

If you can’t laugh at life, if you can find no humor in all the daily struggles, then all you will be left with are the struggles.   Being able to laugh when you find the car keys in the freezer, or when your wife has put her bra on outside her blouse, that is not laughing at your wife.  That is not making fun of her, or minimizing her disease.  Being able to laugh at the humorous moments as they come along, that is a key to surviving this disease.   And since your loved one so often mirrors your attitude and energy, if you are never able to laugh, if you are always dead serious, chances are that will be the attitude of the person staring back at you.   

You are the tone setter for the day.  If you wake up angry and frustrated, and that is how you greet a person with Alzheimer’s, how will they react?  What will their attitude be?   Chances are…

It is usually the veterans of this disease, those who have gone through it for years, these individuals have learned to laugh.  And they will tell you:  “if you don’t laugh, you cry.”  And, “laughter is the best medicine.”  They are clichés.  And, they are true.

When someone is truly distraught at people laughing at the funny moments this disease presents, this is usually a sign of the tremendous amount of pain they are in themselves.  These are the caregivers at risk.  The caregiver who cannot laugh is the caregiver likely to break.  This is a red flag.   Maybe it’s time to explore home health agencies and daycares.  Maybe it’s time for a respite stay at a facility.  Maybe it’s time to place that call to a family member or a neighbor who has offered help but who you haven’t called because you don’t want to be a burden. 

Depression and Caregiving can go hand in hand.  Depression is not a state of mind that can be overcome by will.   Depression changes the brain.  Depression is itself a disease.  It’s a disease, unlike Alzheimer’s, that has successful and powerful treatments.  The problem is two-fold:  (1) the depressed person often is so down they don’t wish to reach out for help, and (2) the depressed person is often the last to know they are depressed. 

If your family is asking you to seek help, and suggesting you might be depressed, if you are angry at other for finding humor where you know there should be none, maybe it’s time to care for yourself enough to care for yourself.

So why is this article on humor and depression in the music therapy section?  So we can play this:




From Coping with Caregiving 
with Jacqueline Marcell (Aug 18th 2012)

Click for Audio:
Dementia and Music Therapy - Dan Cohen
www.musicandmemory.org