Jun 22, 2014

Recording the Life of Person Living with Dementia

My grandmother’s voice and lively mind, which I recorded, still survive and can be shared with all her descendants around the world.

Alzheimer's Reading Room

I read a really wonderful story in the Boston Globe today - Oral history: A palliative for Alzheimer’s afflicted minds - by Alex Kingsbury.

Don't let the title throw you off, it is well worth reading.

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At the end of the story Alex writes: 
My grandmother’s voice and lively mind, which I recorded on mini-discs that were then cutting-edge, now survive in MP3 files — which are easily duplicated and shared with her great-grandchildren in Australia and western Canada, other descendants here in New England, and generations yet unborn. Preserving just a bit of what made her uniquely human, they’ll last long after our paper records have crumbled to dust.

As those of you who have been here for a while know, I made many videos of Dotty and put them up on YouTube. You can find Dotty's YouTube channel

Click on Dotty Live.

I go back and watch them all the time. I also have almost 100 podcasts I made with Dotty. Many of them funny and some very revealing.

On both the videos and podcast I always said to Dotty - say goodbye to your fans. She did it every time. It tickled me pink, and the audience learned to love.

My most favorite video of Dotty took place two months before Dotty went to Heaven. It was filled with so many wonderful things it was hard to believe.

For one thing, Dotty picked up two colored coordinated pencils and started coloring a butterfly perfectly. She did this on her own and without any assistance.

During the video she is asked to sign the drawing. I didn't think she could do it. She did.

At that point she expressed her emotion. She said, I'm nervous. This is most unusual for a person that is in a very advance stage of dementia.

As I talked to Dotty she had an awareness that was uncanny at the time. I asked if she was going to sell her drawing. She actually gave an amazing response as she continued to color.

The awareness on her face was remarkable that day. Some thing I continue to cherish over and over to do this very day.

If you watch that video you have to watch until the very end. When I show it in public people all clap and smile. Some cry. It can be very moving for those of us that are or have been Alzheimer's Caregivers.

If you want to watch it go here --

95 Year Old Alzheimer's Patient Colors Beautifully and Talks About It

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room