Carol Howell Talks Dementia: Dementia and Anxiety

Sunday mornings mean it is time to get ready for church. Mrs. Anna lives with advanced Alzheimer’s type dementia, and she loves people, singing, and the Lord. Church has always been a favorite activity for her, and life with dementia has not changed that emotion.
However, after getting dressed, eating breakfast, and being escorted to church services, Mrs. Anna became anxious about entering the sanctuary. Sissy, who plays the piano for church, knows Mrs. Anna quite well. Sissy noticed how tense she was and asked that Mrs. Anna be brought to the piano to sit with her.

Mrs. Anna was given a chair beside the piano bench, and Sissy continued playing songs before church began. She made it a point, however, to play songs Mrs. Anna knew, and, just as Sissy expected, Mrs. Anna sang along. She remained at the piano for the entire service, and she was very happy. The agitation disappeared. The stress was replaced with calm. The tense emotions in her face were replaced with smiles. The feeling of being successful was written all over her face.
Remember, when life is stressful for your loved one with dementia, sing songs you know are familiar for them. It activates the right temporal lobe and helps to reduce stress, decrease agitation, increase a sense of self-worth and accomplishment, and makes the ensuing hours much more pleasant for everyone. 
Hope that gives you Something to Ponder.

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