Two days in a row now, I’ve come across information on managing Alzheimer’s disease that taps into a couple connections wired deep in the brain: our capacity for words and our capacity for music.
First was a New York Times news item about author Lydia Burdick, who has written a simple book full of colorful pictures and large type specifically for memory-impaired adults. “The Sunshine On My Face” is one of three books she produced while caring for her mother who has advanced dementia. For a little while, at least, the connection between mother and daughter that had been slowly fading away opened back up when the two women shared story books.
Right now, I don’t have an Alzheimer’s patient in my life. But these news items brought back that rush of primal love and connectedness I felt when I used to sing lullabies to my babies or cuddle them in my lap for a story. Life does indeed come full circle. And if a book or a song can bring a moment of connectedness and a bit of relief from the pain of caring for a parent who may not remember you anymore, God bless author Lydia Burdick and the singing of The Ultrasounds, The Doctor's Note and the The Transplantations for the joy they spread.