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alzheimers-treatment-music-therapyAlzeime'rs Disease and Music

Unfortunately for some of us, alzheimer's disease is all too familiar.  It may be a grandparent.  It may be a parent.  And researchers are working hard to find a cure, to figure out what causes alzheimer's disease.  Recently it has been shown that when music is played, alzheimer's patients wake up and come back to the present, to reality.  This is also known as music therapy for alzheimer's disease patients. When we hear a song from the past we remember how old we were and where we were in our lives, for the most part.  The book and movie, The Notebook spells out the effects of alzheimer's disease on families.  A tear-jerker, it is a must see for women and men alike.

Music and Alzeimer's Disease

There is a new documentary that profiles alzheimer patients and how they respond to music.  Called "Alive Inside," news of the documentary  is hitting the Internet and will be shown on April 18th at a museum in New York City (Rubin Museum).

Alzheimer's Disease Statistics and Facts

  • he most common form of memory loss or dementia, alzheimer's disease strikes 5.4 million Americans  The condition quickly erases memory and impairs other brain functions.  Many families stricken with a member with the disease are forced to entrust them to nursing homes.  And most times, the patients become despondent, unresponsive to communication and differing in personality traits.
  • There is an organization called "Music and Memory," which aims to provide alzheimer's patients with ipods so they can enjoy music and be uplifted, even if their memories are still stalled.  The sweet advantage is that patients that benefit from their loved ones selections of music.  Even if loved ones can't remember us it has to be nice to see them happy.
  • Neurologists say music and play a critical part in people with alzheimer's or people with dementia.  Countless times they have seen patients "wake up" or "come out of a funk" when they hear music.  It would seem the part of the brain that stores music is never lost in patients with dementia or alzheimer's.
  • The organization, "Music and Memory" is currently accepting donations of gently used and even new Ipods for alzheimer's patients.  We're hoping that the documentary, "Alive Inside" will make it to television for those of us that cannot see it in New York.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

  • Gradual or sudden problems performing tasks that were once second nature, such as following routines, balancing a checkbook or playing games.  There is also notable difficulty learning new information.
  • Suddenly getting lost performing regular errands or driving routes.
  • Problems with language; not being able to recall names of people or things.
  • Seemingly depressed mood. 
  • Sudden or gradual disinterest in activities they enjoyed.
  • Losing possessions or car keys.
  • Change in personality or social behavior.

Worsened Alzeimer's Disease Symptoms

  • Not sleeping well.  Up a lot in the night.
  • Anger, depression and easily irritable.
  • Inability to complete basic tasks for living.
  • Inability to write or read.
  • Forgetfulness,, including life history, even your name, etc.
  • Argumentative, angry and delusional
  • Compromised judgment.
  • Impaired word pronunciation, fragmented sentences
  • Social withdrawal
If there is someone in your life that exhibits the above symptoms, there are medical professionals that can help.  If you have a loved one that suffers from alzheimer's disease, consider giving them the gift of music.  And let's all hope we can find a cure soon.
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