Mar 25, 2010

American Idol -- Katie Stevens

Katie Stevens sings for fame and grandmother suffering from Alzheimer's disease....
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Katie Stevens is a 17-year-old from Middlebury, Connecticut. Last night she made it into the Top 10 on American Idol. This ensures that she will be on the national American Idol Tour this summer.

Why am I featuring Katie Stevens here? Katie's grandmother suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Katie is helping her family take care of her grandmother -- at home.

We have many stories on this blog about the positive affect that music has on persons suffering from Alzheimer's disease. As you know, my mother responds well to music and it is a real joy when she starts to sing. Very uplifting.

I'm hoping sometime this year we will get to see the look on Katie's grandmother's face as see sings. If not on the show, maybe in some other venue.

There have been scenes of Katie and her grandmother on American Idol. They are wonderful to see.

Young people have a unique ability to see right through Alzheimer's and care. It really is remarkable. Many parents have written to me and told me how much their children help them deal with Alzheimer's disease. The children help the parent deal with the denial, shock, and grief that comes with the Alzheimer's dementia diagnosis.

I often wonder why our high schools don't involve students with Alzheimer's caregivers. Most high school students are required to perform community service. How about students working in the role of respite care? Students could give an Alzheimer's caregiver a few hours of rest each week. The caregiver could use this "time off" in any way they see fit.

What do you think of this idea? Any teachers or principals reading right now?

I often say how much I enjoy my three hour vacation when my mother goes to bingo. People think I am joking. I am not. I know that Alzheimer's caregivers and professionals in the field understand that I am serious.

In the meantime, Katie Stevens is a wonderful example of the positive effect children can have on someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

If you are not a regular viewer of American Idol you can catch Katie next Tuesday night at 8 PM ET on American Idol. If you are so inclined you can pick up the phone and vote for her.

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Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,300 articles with more than 9,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room