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Support & Insight for the Autumn of Life

When Language Fails in Dementia, Use Music, Rhythm & Movement

Dementia in the middle-to-advanced stages diminishes communication & language. Watch Teepa Snow convey the power of music. See her demonstrate how to use rhythm and movement when language fails. (Video)

The left hemisphere of the brain processes language (left for language). The right processes signing, rhythm and curse words. How can dementia caregivers use these facts to help people having trouble with words and thinking? What is the best way to suggest a word? Or is it better to let someone struggle and figure things out on their own? Watch Teepa Snow offer tips on how to do your part with empathy, compassion, and concern.

The Alzheimer’s Support Network

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June 17, 2013 2:53 am

THis is a very good illustration of how the disease progresses. My husband no longer can
speak and I miss hearing his voice.
He is currently in his 13th year of his journey.

Reply to  June
October 3, 2014 5:55 am

My mom can only speak in single words. Usually the words are jumbled. I decided I would talk to her as if she was hard of hearing. I spoke slow, loud and used only a couple words. I also looked right at her. It was amazing!!! She seemed to understand me. She also responded to me although in a couple real words! We had a lovely visit and she laughed a lot with me, sometimes at me. I don't know if my new approach helped her or if she was just having a good day I will do the same thing next time to see if it works again. I sure hope so.

March 5, 2014 4:41 pm

There is a communication tool I'm just now learning called Clean Language…my 'take' on it is that it's as close to totally reflective (like a mirror) and remarkably respectful of the person communicating…no interpretation, correction, analysis…raw reflective respectful Listening. Sans 'my' fears, hangups, 'knowing' what something 'means.' I am NOT the holder of the meaning of those words and gestures coming from someone else…practicing being within that framework is hard, relieving, and reveals worlds way beyond what I could (and possibly THEY could consciously) imagine.

March 5, 2014 7:51 pm

Utterly brilliant. I think I love this woman.

March 6, 2014 9:03 pm

An amazing lesson I was taught. And what is more amazing, I understood every thing.

September 24, 2014 3:06 am

I love this woman… she is helping me n my 25 yr old son care for Momma/grandma … she has vascular dementia …. Momma has broke down 3 times in tears causing me to cry.. Hope one day to meet her in person…..

Betty Marie's
Betty Marie's
May 20, 2015 3:07 am

My husband has Lewy Body dementia. The neurologist says he is in the advance stage and has had this for years before we knew. He had a stroke a few years ago and that is when they discovered this. I am trying to care for him myself at home but, at times this is getting harder to do. There will be good days that he stays calm but, still demands my attention 24/7 and then days he is trying to get anything he can find and hide it so he can take it with him, where ever he thinks he is going? I have put on high blood pressure medicine in the last few months from dealing with the stress and he got those pills the other day and was going to call the police and have me arrested for being on drugs? He is 76 and I am 70 we have been married for 52 yrs. I am getting to the point of understanding why the caregiver dies first, it is hard to see the later years of your life just be destroyed. I have a alarm system that tells me when a outside door is opened because, last week he went out the back and walked down the street to our insurance agents house and told them I had kicked him out and to take him to his daughters house. Of course, they called me first and then I called our daughter to go get him and bring him home. I am at a lose of what to do?

May 27, 2015 1:57 am

You can not expect to handle all the caregiving alone. It is not a one person job! Contact your local Visiting Nurse Association, and ask your gerontologist to refer you to respite care and other local options. You are no good to your husband if you are ill, so you must put some priority on yourself, no matter how daunting that may seem at first. Also try, and any more Teepa Snow videos you can find.

July 6, 2016 12:15 am

If you are looking for a respite service find an excellent adult day and health care Center.

B. Berger

B. Berger

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This site was inspired by my Mom’s autoimmune dementia.

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The site is dedicated to all those preserving the dignity of the community of people living with dementia.

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