How many times have you heard a song and gotten a strange sense of déjà vu? With even just a few notes played, you are reminded of people, places, and events you may not have thought about for years. New research is confirming and expanding an idea long held by those who work with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients: music has a way of invoking memory.
Getting the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease today is much like what getting a cancer diagnosis used to be for some people: devastating, often debilitating, and leaving one not knowing who to tell or where to turn. Years ago when I was a nurse, some patients didn’t want their families to know they had cancer. While cancer patients have gotten braver about their need for support and advocating for treatments and cures, many individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease still fear the stigma…and the confusion over what to do next.
Anne is a memory care patient in long-term chronic care at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Roslindale. To learn more about our memory care offerings, please click here.
Families personally affected by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are robbed of many things others take for granted, but though speech and other faculties may decline, a person’s light and spirit are indelible. Now living with advanced dementia, Anne radiates kindness and warmth and is a valued member of our community. See her story.
You’ve been with Hebrew SeniorLife for several years. Can you share a little about your background and your career at HSL?
I came to Boston from Spain on a Fulbright scholarship to do a masters-level viola performance degree at New England Conservatory. In Boston, I discovered the incredible world of music therapy and the field fascinated me. I found that the combination of science and art was a calling and a home for me in a way I never experienced as a performer or teacher. I then earned a second master’s degree in expressive art therapy at Lesley University and became a licensed mental health counselor.
When Alzheimer’s disease becomes part of a marriage, or a family, caregivers can usually find resources to support the member facing memory loss or to support the family caregiver seeking peer connections and information. Yet, until the last few years, there wasn’t much designed to support the evolving spousal or parent/child relationship itself. All that changed with the advent of the “Memory Café” concept in the Netherlands, a unique model of social programming designed as a welcoming place for caregivers and their loved ones with memory loss to relax together in a stigma-free environment that offers both socialization and support.
As a nonprofit leader in the field of aging, focusing on senior living communities, health care, teaching and research, Hebrew SeniorLife possesses a wealth of expertise and a broad range of services to support families facing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
For patients who want to be home but need ongoing care that can't be managed by friends or family, home health care services can be invaluable. Patients with dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, particularly benefit from receiving care in a familiar environment.
Flexibility, creativity, and consistency all come into play when providing home care services to this population: It's about promoting maximum independence while maintaining safety.
Generally, Medicare and managed care insurance will cover home care if there is a skilled need for services and the patient is homebound. Services typically include:
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center’s Adult Day Health Program, Great Days for Seniors serves a diverse group of older adults with a wide range of needs both medical and social. Together, the seniors make up an engaged community supported by an exceptional staff and funding from BNY Mellon as well as Hinda and Arthur Marcus. Hear what their family members have to say about Great Days for Seniors.