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Stories

Local support for people with dementia and their loves ones

Thursday, September 21, is World Alzheimer’s Day, with a theme of “Remember Me” to raise awareness of dementia and challenge stigma around the globe.

Those living with dementia in Franklin County and the North Quabbin are not forgotten. Thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, LifePath has been working in the local community to enhance the lives of individuals living with dementia and their caregivers through dementia coaching, adaptive services and home modifications, and, most recently, a free, six-session workshop called “The Savvy Caregiver Program.”

“Everyone we dealt with was very positive and helpful,” says one caregiver of his experience LifePath. “This is a tragic situation and it gives us strength to know we are not alone. Thank you so much for everything.”

Sept 2017 World Alzheimers Day photo webThe Alzheimer's Music Project provides iPods with custom playlists to individuals with dementia. You can donate your gently-used iPod Shuffle or iPod Touch by mailing it to: Alzheimer's Music Project, Inc., 138 Harkness Rd., Pelham, MA 01002. Click here for more information. (Photo by Sabri Tuzcu on Unsplash.)Another one of these initiatives is a partnership with Peter Acker of the Alzheimer’s Music Project. The nonprofit pairs individuals with dementia with an iPod, loaded with hours of music from their youth, which helps to reconnect them with their senses, their feelings of peace and contentment, and their loved ones.

One daughter providing care for her mother says, “Her response to this music was remarkable! All the signs of enjoyment [singing, moving, smiling, and dancing] were observed!”

“Peter was very polite and very knowledgeable about presenting the iPod,” says a woman caring for her husband. “He introduced himself to my husband and included him in the conversation.”

A daughter caring for her father says, “Thank you to Peter Acker for the iPod. My dad can’t put it down. He listens to it from the time he comes home to the time he goes to bed… dancing to it, he even sings out loud at times…. He has been transported in time to his youth and even looks a little younger these days.”

Another individual with dementia “received his iPod at a Christmas party,” his caregiver shares. “He immediately began singing along. His wife was moved to tears.”

To learn more about support for individuals with dementia and their family caregivers – including The Savvy Caregiver Program workshops, to learn strategies and tools as a caregiver, and access to one-time, technology-related resources for individuals with dementia – contact us.