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Caregiver Lessons Through a Son's Music

Posted by on 1/8/2015
Joe Fraley of Duarte, California has been making music for years. But when his mom developed Alzheimer's, his music making and sharing had new meaning.

This video of Joe and his mom is wonderful in so many ways. Yes, it shows a very special moment between them. But in addition, it teaches some very important caregiver lessons:
  • Finding joy in the new relationship you have with your loved one. Your relationship as husband and wife or mother/father and daughter/son, etc. is no longer the same as dementia symptoms progress.  But joy can still be found in the new relationship you have.  In the video, Joe shows how a simple song can bring joy to both him and his mom.
  • Music can be a very powerful way to engage the person with dementia. In this video, the feeling and energy of Joe's music overpowers his mom's feelings of anxiety and confusion. As she hears the music, she stops her jilted, anxious talking and starts singing along. Her face moves from expressions of frustration to smiles.  Music can work like magic.
  • Learning to comfort and not correct. Last, Joe demonstrates very well how to make his mom feel comfortable, without trying to explain the truth. When his mom worriedly asks, "What is this?" and says "I don't know where we live", Joe does not answer her questions with facts.  He knows she will not be able to understand or remember the answers or that the true answers may in fact upset her more. Instead he simply says "It's okay. Everything is going to be okay." Often that is all the person needs to hear.

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