Skip to comments.Fighting Alzheimer's With A Touch of Beauty
Posted on 02/27/2010 4:31:04 PM PST by Steelfish
February 28, 2010 Fighting Alzheimer's With A Touch of Beauty A pioneering care project demonstates how literature, music, art and love can improve the lives of dementia sufferers
Rita Hayworth [Pic in URL]
In her heyday, Rita Hayworth was known as the Love Goddess: so explosive was her appeal that her image was placed on the first nuclear bomb to be tested on Bikini Atoll after the second world war. As befits one of the worlds most glamorous women, she danced her way through 61 movies and five husbands. She was a pin-up for American servicemen and is listed as one of the American Film Institutes greatest stars of all time.
But if Hayworths early life was sprinkled with stardust, her later life was tinged with tragedy. In her fifties, with a well established drink problem, she began to suffer mood swings and memory loss.
The first signs were fear and extreme mood changes, paranoia calling the police because she heard a burglar and confusion. As a daughter I felt helpless, says Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, Hayworths daughter by her third husband.
Nobody knew what the real problem was until Hayworth was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 1981, at just 63 years old. It was extremely painful but I had to deal with it, says Khan, who moved her mother into an adjoining apartment in New York.
(Excerpt) Read more at timesonline.co.uk ...
Great article - I remember when Ms. Hayworth started going down hill in the 80s. It was sad. I think it was the first time I’d ever seen an iconic movie star get struck with such an illness.
This is the worst disease that can hit the elderly. I am more afraid of getting dementia than I am of dying. I don’t want to do that to my children. I can’t imagine hurting them like that. My neighbor got this disease and she lived alone so she turned to us. It was a very difficult time for us. We really loved her. She had been a good friend for years. She got where we didn’t even recognize her.
That’s what I fear most too. I live alone in a neighborhood that keeps turning over and you barely get to know your neighbors before they move on and up.
[In her fifties she began to suffer mood swings and memory loss. Diagnosed at 63yrs.]
She got it young. I have a relative going through tests for it right now. It’s obvious to all around her.
Even then, Rita probably looked better than some of today’s “stars” whose only appeal is their promiscuity.
My sister died of it at age of 53. Early onset can run in families.
I’m so sorry, that’s sad.
There are meds out now that help delay the progress I believe.
The meds work some, but only for a few months and only on some people. It will be so wonderful when a cure is discovered.
Not even a little bit guilty. Ever.
My brother-in-law is pretty far gone. Recently he forgot how to use a fork. But my sister was amazed to find him singing along with a group when she visited. Music and singing memory is supposedly in a different part of the brain from regular memory and can be unaffected.
Err...FIVE 'marriages'...(and who knows how many 'non-marriages'?) Not to take anything away from Rita, but a role model?
I once read an article that made me do a double take. It said if a cancer cure was found it would destroy the medical and pharmaceutical business.
After watching the Global Warming fiasco, I wouldn't doubt much.
Docs would still have a huge patient base
People are living mucho longer now
They are, but many like me don’t go in for anything minor. It’s a disturbing thought though.
Respecting people with Alzheimer’s and then adding just plain old love and caring can really make a difference in their lives.
In the facility where I work, we’ve seen people return from the brink of death. While some might think it would be a blessing for some of them to just pass on .. our philosophy is that these people should be allowed to live as full a life as possible.
Most people think Alzheimer’s is a “mental disease”.
There is a diagnosis of Dementia (lessening of cognitive ability) which is common as you age and can have differing levels of ability. There are 70 different types of Dementia, and one of them is called Alzheimer’s. This is the one that is the killer. It’s a killer because it actually destroys the cells of the brain. A person can have more than one type of Dementia.
In looking at slides of the brains a normal brain and a brain with Alzheimer’s - it becomes evident right away that a person with Alzheimer’s loses their ability to function because the portion of the brain which used to be able to tell them how to do things (like speak, chew, swallow, urinate, sleep, etc.) .. well .. those signals are no longer there. Once certain portions of the brain stop firing along their electrical connections - that portion of the brain begins to die. Little by little more and more of the brain dies and shrinks and all but disappears.
When you see these slides - you suddenly realize why they can’t remember the names of their family members; their own name; where they live; and all sorts of other information.
One of the things that remains with most Alzheimer’s sufferers is the ability to sing all the songs of their childhood (whether or not they can carry a tune). It’s been discovered that this portion of the brain is not destroyed by Alzheimer’s. Consequently, music is one of the most important aspects of therapy for them.
The best source for information about this disease is The Alzheimer’s Assn. - and no, I don’t work for them.
You’re never alone .. God loves you. And besides .. you have FR!!
My father has Alzheimer's Disease, and I much prefer it to his being dead, in spite of being sad about what he doesn't remember and can't do. He can still sit on the sofa with a grandson, nurture the dog, and know that he's surrounded by people who love him.
Maybe your children would prefer a live parent to a dead one, too.
Thanks for that useful info. My M-I-L suffers with Alzheimer disease. My wife is amazing in the way she cares for her (though she doesn’t live with us any more). I can not think of many other illnesses that affect an entire family watching a loved one slowly cease to be (like) the person they have known and loved all those years.
I’m sure they would but it depends on the circumstances. It sounds like your father is a very nice gentleman. A lot of Alziemers victims are not that nice. They get violent and say very hurtful things to their children. My neighbor got where she didn’t trust anyone. She thought everyone was out to get her. Another lady I knew that had this disease didn’t know her own daughter and would go to the neighbors and tell them there was a strange woman in her house who was going to kill her, that sort of thing. What I meant was that I don’t want to say and do things that would hurt my children.
Just read this article. This weekend saw a new documentary on Alzheimer’s which features Rita’s daughter speaking about her struggle with Alzheimer’s, and how painting helped Rita. The paintings she did are just lovely. And learning about how the arts help people with this disease come back to life - amazing and inspiring. There is a clip of the film on youtube - film is called “I Remember Better When I Paint”.
I cared for my own mother with Alzheimer’s for over 3 years. It really saddened me when I had to place her in a home - but there I met some really wonderful, caring people who loved on her .. and went out of their way to provide us with a private place to visit and share our favorite coffee.
My mom was 93 and lived a very full life. She had a great faith in God and that comforted me after she was gone.
Those are good points.
Correct that Aricept has a max efficiency of two years.
My M-I-L is extremely restless—has to go and do or be entertained (kept busy I guess is a better term). It was very difficult to care for her at home as things progressed. She is in a home now that she loves, that she feels comfortable in and she is happy as a clam. We are grateful for that.
I'm sorry to hear that. Both of mine had cancer.
We all have our own devils to conquer - or fear.
Well stated! I agree....