Hello again! I Hope you have had a great summer. I have been traveling, spending precious time with family and re-charging for the fall season ahead.
I would love to share a story from the field.
One of my private clients with Alzheimer's, whom I do one on one Stories Love Music sessions with, has been quite erratic in his responses to these sessions. Some days he is engaged and responsive and other days he is too restless to bother. Over the past few months, I had some realizations that helped this tremendously. This client had been the president of his own company and was used to feeling in charge, involved, heard and seen. Every morning he still dresses for work, even though he cannot go anymore. Like most people he was used to his rituals and feeling engaged in his routine and now it was changing and he was frustrated. I discovered however, that he still went to a local temple and knew Hebrew. I decided to bring in several Hebrew prayers and songs to sing with him. He loved them and sang with me with a gusto he had not before. In the following sessions, I told him I was there to practice these songs with him so we would be ready to sing when he went to temple. Our sessions became "practice sessions" and gave him a new purpose and meaning in our time together. Amazing! Little did my 12 year old self know, when I was studying Hebrew with my rabbi for my Bat Mitzvah, that I would be using my Hebrew years later to give a renewed sense of purpose to a man with Alzheimer's.
Now I should point out that many people I work with, love and connect with music and singing so much, they don't need this extra sense of purpose and structure to it, but some do! Remember this and when you use any kind of creative engagement with your client or loved one, know your audience! Find out what they did, what they love and find a way to make it as meaningful today as in their past.
Thanks for reading and as always, please leave a comment or question as you wish!
Hello and Happy Spring!
Latest News: With the additional grant from MAC (Maintaining Active Citizens), that Stories Love Music received this year,
I was able to hit the road again and bring my program to another group of care givers in Maryland. Yet again, it was another group of hard working humans with huge hearts (AKA- Care Givers) and we had an amazing session together. These session are fun and stress relieving experiences where one also learns new tools and approaches to creative engagement. I am ready to travel the country and bring this program to every care giver out there!
I launched a new podcast series called "No, I Know" and it's now on Itunes store.
On the show that I co-host with my husband, we bring in special guests for spirited conversation and live music! We recently had on the show, Nancy Lee Hendley. She is former head of care giver education at Caring Kind (formerly Alzheimer's Association), and now she is manager of CONNECT2CULTURE at Caring Kind. We had an inspiring conversation with her about CREATIVE ENGAGEMENT and Memory Loss. You do not want to miss it!
Stay tuned for more and as always I welcome your questions and comments.
Thanks for reading,
I was invited to observe at a special event at the Jewish Museum called JM Journeys. It was only for those with memory impairment and their care givers.
The special exhibit at the museum right now, was Issac Mizrahi's Fashion exhibit. While standing and looking at this wall (pictured above), which are Mizrahi's fabric swatches, organized by color, the attendees were able to play with their own color pieces and sort them. Interactive and Textured were the keys to the success of this event. As I stood and watched, The color pieces on the wall reminded me of something in my work that I do with elders with dementia. In my Stories Love Music program, stimulating stories is one of the goals. Sometimes those stories come out in pieces. The pieces sound like "non-linear fragments" that don't always make sense in a logical way. But if we look at story telling in a spiritual sense, all the fragments that come out, make up a larger picture of us as a person and as a soul. The attendees really responded to this wall of color pieces and also later when they got to sit and make art with highly textured fabric. The stories and they art they made was textured, sometimes in pieces, but very beautiful and full of color.
If you are care giver out there, there are many museums starting to host events like these, so look them up!
Thanks for reading.
Welcome. This site and blog is a place for all of us, for those of you have been a part of one of my Stories Love Music training sessions especially! This is the place to ask questions, leave comments and tell stories about how you have utilized music as a doorway into connecting with your person with memory impairment, hearing their stories and what the outcomes have been. Not only do I want to hear from you, but your fellow community of care givers, both professional and family, will benefit from your questions and shared stories. Very often I hear from care givers, that there is a feeling of isolation in this kind of work. Engaging with each and creating this circle, gives us a feeling of warmth and the energy to keep on going!
If there is something specific you would like me to answer and blog about, just ask!
Looking forward to hearing from you all!
I am so pleased to announce that Stories Love Music, is the recipient of another grant.
Great thanks to MAC Center in Maryland and The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, for their support of this program. This grant will make possible: Stories Love Music Sessions for professional and family care givers of Elders with Memory impairment in the state of Maryland.
Stay tuned for more details.
Hello! Thought it was time for an update on what Stories Love Music has been up to so far in 2016. We have been in the field conducting Stories Love Music sessions with elders with memory impairment. These sessions have been filled with miracles and I don't use that word lightly. When I started out as a musician and story teller, I always thought that these creative vehicles, had the potential for magical transformation and now I am seeing it in such powerful examples. "ReAnimation" is the best word I can think of. An elder with memory impairment, their life and experiences can be muddled below the surface and they can seem disconnected from it. Music and Story telling sparks that world and re connects them and their feelings about it. This is a vital part of this work.
Being that I also do Stories Love Music training sessions with Care Givers, I see from both sides, how we can be cut off from sides of ourselves and chapters of our lives. When care givers, both professional and family, reconnect with this, they see the value on focusing on this with their elder. In these workshops I speak about the idea of allowing the "pregnant pause" after music and stories have been shared. In these pauses, circuits can be connecting to form deeper presence and stories. When we interrupt or rush through these pauses with our elders, we can short circuit something trying to form. I have learned so many times that PATIENCE can bring these miracles.
Coming up: Exciting developments in New York and Nationally that will evolve and share this work even further. Stay tuned for this and as always love to hear your experiences!
Happy New Year! What a year 2015 was for Stories Love Music. The grant we received allowed us to bring Stories Love Music to groups of both professional and family care givers in Maryland. The workshops were amazing and again reminded me, that the women and men who devote their lives to taking of people, are so beautifully living their lives in service. Many exciting things developing for 2016 and check in here for updates.
Thanks for Reading,
I am so happy to announce that STORIES LOVE MUSIC program has received it's first grant! The grant came through MAC- Maintaining Active Citizens in Maryland and The Community Foundation of Salisbury. This grant allowed us to start to travel and share this program around the country. The workshops that happened were for both professional and family care givers of the memory impaired. Stay tuned for upcoming posts about these workshops, where I will talk about the unique insights learned working with these groups of dedicated humans.
I recently attended the 20th Anniversary Forum of The Institute for Music and Neurologic Function. It celebrated the science of Music and The Brain in Human development, health and healing. It was so inspiring and helpful for my work with the Stories Love Music program. There were many panels of both Neuro-Scientists and Music Therapists. The keynote was given by Daniel Levitan, who wrote "This is Your Brain on Music". Micky Hart of The Grateful Dead, spoke about his work with scientists on Rhythm and The Brain.
The Day long conference covered many topics in this arena: Music's effect on the brain, Rhythms in the brain, "Entrainment" (the synchronization of organisms to an external rhythm) in Music Therapies, Cognitive function, language skills, memory recovery, and Emotional regulation through music. Some of the big thoughts of the day were: Both Scientists and Music Therapists in the room agreed, that Music effects the brain and healing in powerful ways and with a regularity that medicine is not always able to do.
The top three goals in Music Therapies are:
*Garner Attention, *Regulate Moods and *Stimulate Arousal.When these occur, all areas of the brain are stimulated and healing begins.
Insurance companies and FDA alike need to recognize the validity of this work and doctors have much to learn about mindfulness, empathy and "slow listening"; all of which can come through music therapies.
Every panelist of the day paid homage to the memory and life's work of Oliver Sacks, who worked closely with this Institute over the years. It was an inspiring day. I will post a 2nd blog soon with more details of the conference and how it integrates into my program. Thanks for reading!
Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful summer. Between travels, times with my family and many Stories Love Music sessions, I have not been able to blog!
I did want to check in and say this. I have had many favorite moments doing this work. But i think some of my favorites are when family members come by to visit their loved ones and sit in on the Stories Love Music sessions with them. Watching them cry and get emotional because they see their family member with Alzheimer's come to life; seeing them singing the songs and telling me about their life is so special to them and us. Or like today, when a husband came to visit his wife who has Alzheimer's, and during one of our songs she got up and asked her husband to dance. Ahhh makes my heart sing!
Some new developments are in the works for this program and I will announce it here. So stay tuned.
Executive Director of Stories Love Music, Singer, Story Teller, Coach and Activist.