Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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Shelley Osterloh reportingPeople with Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia, struggle to remember, understand, and communicate.
But music can tap into some of those long forgotten memories, and soothe a troubled or confused mind.
Songs and music are often are used in nursing facilities as a way to calm and entertain the elderly. There are about 28-thousand people with Alzheimer's disease here in Utah, and 75% of them are cared for at home. Now a new video may provide some comfort for those who struggle to remember, and may also provide some respite for over-worked caregivers.
Robyn K. Simper is a regular performer at many Retirement and Elderly Care Facilities throughout Northern Utah. She has a large repertoire of old time, popular songs. The kind this generation knew, loved and still likes to sing.
GROUP SINGS, Robyn Simper: "MAN YOU SOUND GOOD, IT IS SO NICE TO HEAR A GROUP."
Woman: " WE ALL SING WHETHER WE ARE GOOD OR BAD, WE DON'T CARE. WE SING "
Some of these people have dementia like Alzheimer's disease. For them, music is like a visit from an old friend.
Robyn K. Simper, Recreational Therapist: "PEOPLE WHO MAY BE THEY HAVE SOME DISORIENTATION, PERHAPS SOME CONFUSION, SOMETIMES PEOPLE WHO CANT SPEAK, THE WORDS THEY KNOW WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY, THE WORDS WON'T COME, THEY CAN SING A WHOLE SONG. AND THEY KNOW THEY ARE GETTING IT RIGHT"
Woman: "I LIKE MUSIC I LIKE SINGING, I LIKE DANCING. SHELLEY: HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL TODAY. OH VERY HAPPY"
Mindy Smith, Crosslands Recreation Director: "I SEE THEM OVERCOMING THEIR DEPRESSION, IT BRINGS BACK THEIR MEMORIES I SEE THEM SINGING WITH HER, REMEMBERING THE OLD TIMES AND HOW IT USED TO BE. "
Woman: "WELL I JUST.. TAP MY TOES... AND THINK OF THE DAYS THAT I USED TO BE UP THERE... WHICH WAS LONG AGO"
Robyn's mother, Dr. Mary Simper, is a social gerontologist, who saw the remarkable affect songs have on the elderly. She encouraged Robyn to video tape her songs, so that those who live at home could enjoy them while their caregivers took a break.
Mary Simper PH.D., Social Gerontologist: " EVEN IF IT WAS JUST TO TAKE A SHOWER OR TO MAKE SOME PHONE CALLS... OR JUST SAY I HAVE A HALF AN HOUR TO RELAX. THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT I WANT TO REACH "
The video has the same charming music, but also includes images designed to bring back memories... about children, romance, and good times. Music that heals the mind, lifts the spirit...and give care-givers some respite.
The video and CD are called "Music for Memories" and are available only by ordering on the phone or through the Web (see link above).