Music Brings Hope to 
Persons with Memory Impairments 

Subscribe NOW to our FREE monthly ezine, ​Together With Alzheimer's:


We respect your email privacy


December​​ 2016 ISSUE

The memory of music is one of the most enduring we humans have within our brains. Numerous emotional experiences associated with specific tunes surely contribute to this memory's tenacity. I bet you can still remember songs you learned when you were in school (I can still sing, “My New Little Shoes” that I learned in Kindergarten!). What about the favorites you danced to as a young person? And the “hits” from your most beloved singers and groups?

All evoke memories of specific times in your history, the persons you were with, the places in which these memories unfolded, and the sights, sounds, loves and heartbreaks that accompanied them. On top of that, every culture throughout the world has its distinctive form of music, connected sounds and rhythms that accompany its social, cultural, and religious celebrations. In his book, Musicophilia, Dr Oliver Sachs, MD, notes that “many levels of neural circuitry underlay the perception of music”. He further notes that music has a variety of effects on us: it alerts, calms, excites, thrills, and helps focus us.

When exposed to music, many persons with memory impairments respond similarly. Despite the stage of Alzheimer's/dementia they experience, the music center in the brain remains intact and functioning. Music, a powerful organizer within its own brain center, causes the person to become alert, focussed, and engaged. Persons with dementia respond in individual ways: some demonstrate a mild interest in the music, while others delight in their resurrected abilities to pay attention and focus. For this group, music provides an enormous amount of pleasure. (You may recall Dr. Sachs' book, Awakenings, the story of the profound effects of music on persons with Parkinson's Disease. The same phenomenon, the intact music center of the brain, was at work there.)​​

​TO READ MORESign Up For: Together With Alzheimer's Ezine


​Part I: Managing Alzheimer's
(YES, it's time to talk about approaches that are WORKING!!)

December Caregiving Tips:

We've introduced a way in which to access the music center in your loved one's brain. Let's talk about how you might incorporate the iPOD along with music tailored to your loved one's tastes and experiences into her daily routines, whether they occur at home or at a memory care unit.

Three informative ebooks that provide detailed instructions are available from Music and Memory website:

a) "Making the Case for Personalized Music: A Guide for Elder Care Professionals" (I definitely include you in this group).

b) "How to Run a Successful iPod Donation Drive from Music and Memory". This may be helpful in the event you wish to support a particular memory care unit.

"How to Create a Personalized Playlist for Your Loved One at Home".

              TO LEARN MORE Sign Up For: Together With Alzheimer's Ezine


Meets every Wednesday, from 7:00-8:00
Join us to discuss our experiences and share information/resources
within a supportive and caring environment.

Conference Room
  Sacred Heart Parish Center,
326 Main St, Yarmouth, Maine
All are welcome to attend. No charge.  

                       To Learn More Sign Up For: Together With Alzheimer's Ezine

Dear Fellow Caregivers:

I must admit that watching the video about Henry and listening to Peggy Sarlin's song about caregiving brought tears to my eyes. It's hard not to become emotional when I think about the many wonderful outcomes of incorporating music into the lives of our loved ones. Music, an intervention as basic as breathing, is a part of each and every one of us. And such a practical way to help orient those who are loosing touch with their own identities. What a wonderful Christmas or holiday gift!

Between that and a series of lectures I recently watched that discussed the ways in which physicians are applying what they know about our metabolic systems toward to goal of ending Alzheimer's, I have hope for more positive outcomes for all of us. Our next few issues will report on these exciting approaches to doing just that: Ending Alzheimer's.

May you and yours experience the quiet blessings of this season,

Catherine Gentile, Editor
Together With Alzheimer's Ezine

Before You Accept the Diagnosis of Dementia

A family member recently received the diagnosis of “Alzheimer's” and, after learning of the circumstances surrounding his diagnosis, I couldn't help but wonder about the accuracy of that diagnosis. This person had recently undergone surgery, and I questioned the impact that the anesthesia had had. As we age, anesthesia can remain in our systems for a year post surgery. Anesthesia isn't the only factor that can make us appear to have dementia; there are many other culprits. So, I urge you, before deciding if a diagnosis of dementia truly reflects the person's cognitive profile, consider the following:

1. If there's the remotest possibility of having been bitten by a tick at anytime in one's lifetime, get tested for Lyme disease. One of the many ways in which Lyme manifests is as memory loss and other dementia-like symptoms. When treated, these symptoms disappear.

2. Check for sleep apnea. Snoring and forgetfulness are symptoms of sleep apnea that are often     mistaken for dementia. See the work of Dr. Michael Breus, aka: “The Sleep Doctor”, who warns that a person with chronic sleep deprivation AND a genetic propensity to Alzheimer's can trigger the onset of Alzheimer's disease. FMI:

      TO LEARN MORE Sign Up For: Together With Alzheimer's Ezine​


Being a caregiver is a tough job, one we can do,
especially when we have the right support. 

As Christopher Robin tells Pooh: 
           "Promise me you'll always remember:
You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think."

So are we.