Hello, I'm Sara Bell, and I'm My Nana's Keeper.

With the help of my family, it's my job to ensure Nana has the best quality of life everyday that she's with us.  Our posts share our experiences living with and learning from Alzheimer's, and we hope they encourage and inspire others who are also living in the wild world of Alz. 

Alz Anxiety, Music, & Joy (and a little gift for you!)

Alz can be a real bitch when Nana wants to go "home", get the babies, find her daddy, or do anything else that is no longer realistic.

It's sometimes really hard to get her off of the topic.  We know to distract her - change the subject, change the scenery, do whatever we can to get away from the thoughts she's stuck on.  But sometimes it's just that.  She's stuck.  Her mind is going in a never ending loop.  No matter what you try, she keeps going back.

Here is a 10 second peak at the Alz induced anxiety I'm talking about - she can get really upset quickly, and when it's time to go, it's time to go.

During these times, I've tried all kinds of things.  Sometime I just let her go outside (and I follow her at a short distance).  She walks a little ways and then sees me and all is well.  Sometimes, that doesn't work (ask Melissa, Dana, or Ben about the time she ran down the street screaming that I was trying to murder her... Yeah, that happened).  When nothing else seems to work, I tell her I'm taking her wherever she wants and we get in the car and drive.  I started to do that when I realized how much music really changes her mood.

When Nana moved in with me, I started playing music for her from a 60's playlist on Spotify.  To my surprise, she recognized several songs.  I started adding them to a playlist just for her - so if she sang or hummed or just seemed to enjoy the song (tapping her hands or dancing), I added it.  Over the past 6 months or so, we are up to over 80 songs - 4.5 hours of playtime! 

Whenever she's anxious or stuck in a never ending loop, we take a music break.  Sometimes we dance, sometimes we drive, sometimes we just sit and sing with each other.  Every time it brings her joy, even if only for a few minutes.  But more importantly, it gets her out of the loop she's in.  It brings her to a different place in her mind - and for a moment, we are in a good place.

In the spirit of the holidays, here's my gift to you.  Nana's Songs available with a Spotify account, (the paid version is around $10/mo. and more than worth it for the amount of joy it brings Nana!).  

I hope you like 60's mixed with a little Celine Dion and a random 90's country or love song she used to know (and sometimes still does!).


Choosing Nana's New Home

Some Alz Friendly Holiday Activities