Care for the one with Alzheimer’s

I find the following quoted article on titled “When a Loved One Has Alzheimer’s Disease” informative. I quote the entire article in the following. The original article could be found following this web page link:

Alzheimer’s disease: A progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. It is the most common cause of premature senility.

Dementia: A chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.


Could It Be Alzheimer’s?

It’s normal for people to become a bit forgetful as they age. So how can you tell a harmless “senior moment” from Alzheimer’s disease? One in eight people 65 and older have this devastating form of dementia. In its first stages, Alzheimer’s may not be obvious to friends and family. But there are some early warning signs to watch for.

Warning Signs: Memory and Speech

In early Alzheimer’s, long-term memories usually remain intact while short-term memories become sketchy. Your loved one may forget conversations you had. She may repeat questions that were already answered. The disease also disrupts speech, so she might struggle to remember common words.

Warning Signs: Behavior

In addition to memory loss, Alzheimer’s can cause confusion and behavior changes. Your loved one may get lost in familiar places. Mood swings and lapses in judgment are also common, as is poor hygiene. People who were once stylish may start wearing stained clothes and forget to wash their hair.

Don’t Ignore the Signs

It’s hard to face the thought that a loved one could have this disease, but it’s better to see a doctor sooner rather than later. First, the diagnosis might be something else. The symptoms could be caused by a highly treatable problem, like a thyroid imbalance. And if it is Alzheimer’s, treatments work best when they’re used early in the course of the disease.

How Is It Diagnosed?

There’s no simple test for Alzheimer’s, so the doctor will rely on you to describe the changes in your loved one. A mental status test, sometimes called a “mini-cog,” or other screening tests can measure his mental skills and short-term memory. Neurological exams and brain scans may be used to rule out other problems, like a stroke or tumor, and they can provide other information about his brain.

What Happens to the Brain?

Alzheimer’s causes nerve cell death and tissue loss throughout the brain. As the disease gets worse, brain tissue shrinks and areas that contain cerebrospinal fluid become larger. The damage harms memory, speech, and comprehension.

What to Expect?

Alzheimer’s takes a different path in every person. Sometimes the symptoms get worse quickly and lead to severe memory loss and confusion within a few years. For other people the changes are gradual. It could take 20 years for the disease to run its course. Most people live 3 to 9 years after diagnosis.

How Will It Change Daily Life?

Alzheimer’s affects concentration, so your loved one may not be able to do ordinary tasks like cooking or paying the bills. A study suggests trouble balancing the checkbook is often one of the first signs of the disease. As symptoms worsen, he may not recognize familiar people or places. He may get lost easily or use utensils improperly, like combing his hair with a fork. Incontinence, balance problems, and loss of language are common in advanced stages.

Should My Loved One Stop Driving?

Poor coordination, memory loss, and confusion are a dangerous combination behind the wheel. If you feel your loved one should stop driving, tell her why. If she won’t listen, ask her doctor to step in. If she still insists on driving, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles for an assessment. Then make other plans for her transportation needs.

Can Exercise Help?

Physical activity can help your loved one keep some muscle strength and coordination. It might also boost his mood and help him feel less anxious. Check with his doctor to learn which types of exercise are appropriate. Repetitive activities, like walking, gardening, or even folding laundry may be the best at giving him a sense of calm.

How Is It Treated?

There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s and no way to slow the nerve damage it causes in the brain. But there are medications that appear to help maintain mental skills and slow the disease’s effects. If your loved one gets treatment early on, she may be able to stay independent and do her daily tasks for a longer period of time.

Challenges in Caregiving

In the early stages, people with Alzheimer’s often understand what’s happening to them. They may be ashamed or get anxious. Watch for signs of depression, which the doctor can manage with medication. Later on, your loved one may become paranoid or aggressive and could even turn on you. Remember that the disease is responsible for this change. Tell the doctor about this kind of behavior promptly.

Sundown Syndrome

Experts don’t know why, but some people with Alzheimer’s get upset when the sun goes down. This tends to last through the evening and sometimes all night long. To ease tension, keep the house well lit and close the drapes before sunset. Try to distract your loved one with a favorite activity or TV show. Switch him to decaf after breakfast.

When Your Loved One Doesn’t Know You

Many people with Alzheimer’s have trouble remembering names, even of people closest to them. A temporary fix is to put up pictures of people they’re likely to see often or know well with names printed underneath. Eventually, your loved one may no longer recognize faces and may react as if family members are strangers. This can be distressing, especially for the main caregiver.

Warning Signs of Caregiver Stress

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be physically and mentally draining. Signs of caregiver stress include:

. Anger, sadness, and mood swings

. Headaches or back pain

. Trouble concentrating

. Trouble sleeping

Take Care of Yourself

To avoid caregiver burnout, make sure you take at least a few minutes to do something you enjoy every day. Stay in touch with friends and keep up with hobbies when you can. Find a friend or relative to be your support person. You can also join an online or local caregiver support group through the Alzheimer’s Association.

Essential Documents

While your loved one is still able to make important decisions, talk to an attorney about drafting advance directives. These are legal documents that spell out what he wants in terms of medical treatments and end-of-life care. He should name someone to make health care decisions and manage finances on his behalf. This will help avoid confusion later on if he’s no longer able to state his wishes.

Home Health Care

Many people want to stay in their own homes as long as possible. That’s not easy if they have trouble getting dressed or using the bathroom on their own. A home health aide can help with personal hygiene and other daily tasks. You can also check with your local Area Agency on Aging for information on services that deliver meals or provide transportation to the elderly.

Assisted-Living Facilities

There may come a day when your loved one can no longer be cared for at home. If she doesn’t need 24-hour nursing care, an assisted-living facility may be good choice. They provide housing, meals, and activities, but are much less expensive than nursing homes. Look for one with an Alzheimer’s special care unit that can give 24-hour supervision and personal care to meet the needs of people with dementia.

The Later Stages

People with advanced Alzheimer’s may lose their ability to walk, talk, or respond to others. Eventually, the disease can hinder vital functions, like the ability to swallow. This may be the time to switch to hospice care, which provides pain relief and comfort for people with terminal illnesses.

How to Help Children Understand

Children may feel confused, afraid, or even resentful when a family member has Alzheimer’s. Let the child know these feelings are normal and answer her questions about the illness honestly. Help her celebrate happy memories of your loved one. You could create a scrapbook with pictures from happier times.

Can You Prevent It?

Is there anything you can do to lower your chances of getting this disease? Research in this area is ongoing, but diet and exercise appear to be important. Studies show people who eat a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, fish, and nuts and get plenty of physical activity are the least likely to get Alzheimer’s.

Beethoven: Symphony No.6, “Pastorale”; Jarvi, DKB, A spring season cheering?

This year of Chinese Lunar New Year is on February 8, 2016; the year of monkey.  I am using this music piece for cheering: “Beethoven: Symphony No.6 in F, “Pastorale”, Op.68
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen Paavo Jarvi, director: Beethoven: Symphony No.6, “Pastorale”; Jarvi, DKB. One link for the 6th symphony is here

Quote from Wikipedia: About Beethoven: Symphony No.6, “Pastorale”

“Beethoven was a lover of nature who spent a great deal of his time on walks in the country. He frequently left Vienna to work in rural locations.”

“‘Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the countryside.’: The symphony begins with a placid and cheerful movement depicting the composer’s feelings as he arrives in the country. The movement, in 2/4 meter, is in sonata form, and its motifs are extensively developed. At several points Beethoven builds up orchestral texture by multiple repetitions of very short motifs. Yvonne Frindle commented,[6] “the infinite repetition of pattern in nature [is] conveyed through rhythmic cells, its immensity through sustained pure harmonies.”

Explanations for each movement from this web page and I quote: Each movement subtitle explaining what it was about


Beethoven spread out the symphony into five movements and gave each movement a little subtitle explaining what it was about.

I. “Happy Arrival” (Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the country)

The Pastoral symphony opens with warmth and calm, setting the scene as we arrive in the countryside. This has a programmatic indication. In this movement, we find a genuine popular sonority through the choice of instruments neatly weaved together.

II. “By the Brook” (The natural scene of the stream)

This slow movement is a beautiful depiction of the delicate nature of… nature itself. It is a wonderful scene of nature with exceptionally musical themes in the pure pastoral air. You can almost breathe the fresh country air! It is more of a description of sensations rather than images. Towards the end, we find the onomatopoeic sounds of birds.

III. “Merrymaking” (Joyful gathering of countryfolk)

Now we turn our attention to the loud, jolly peasants who live in the countryside. Here we see them celebrate with a joyful dance. Of course, these are simple folks, so the music itself is simple, but very energetic.

IV. “ThunderStorm” (Heavy rumblings of natural forces) 29:21

With no pause between the previous movement and this movement, there is a dramatic surprise, hinting at trouble ahead. Yes, a storm is brewing! Beethoven inserts fantastic lightning crashes and the whirl of the wind. He renders the stages of the storm as it unravels on the horizon and moves closer more and more threatening. The instruments with grave chords — cellos and double basses — through their sounds announce the storm, then, the staccato sounds of the violins render the falling raindrops, and through the timpani and the flutes we sense the thunder and lightning. Then comes the rainbow. Above all these images, we feel the tense disposition that captures man facing the realities of nature. There’s an underlying sense of human fear since humanity is powerless against the forces of nature. When the storm is over, all living creatures come to the surface, taking their place in the natural cycle. This is rendered by a choral of flutes which come as a true sunray.

V. “Shepherd’s Song” (Expression of thanks when the storm is over)

As the storm fades away, all the animals emerge, and there’s a general feeling of relief. Sunshine reappears, and everyone’s mind is relaxed again. This is the song of gratitude towards nature. It is a calm movement, full of grace. It starts out quiet, but quickly gets faster and happier. The music is fairly simple, but this makes its emotions of gratitude endearing.

Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, through its simplicity, is just sincere and natural.


Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From The New World” / Karajan · Vienna Philarmonic: My favorite

Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From The New World” / Karajan · Vienna Philarmonic is a recording that I often listen to; I particularly like the second movement “Largo”; I thus list the second movement link here first, then the entire symphony.

Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World” – II. Largo (Karajan)

Quote from Wikipedia:

The theme from the Largo was adapted into the spiritual-like song “Goin’ Home”, often mistakenly considered a folk song or traditional spiritual, by Dvořák’s pupil William Arms Fisher, who wrote the lyrics in 1922

The entire “Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 “From The New World” / Karajan · Vienna Philarmonic”:

Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 “From The New World” / Karajan · Vienna Philarmonic

Quote from Wikipedia: Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World”, Op. 95, B. 178

The Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World”, Op. 95, B. 178 (Czech: Symfonie č. 9 e moll „Z nového světa“), popularly known as the New World Symphony, was composed by Antonín Dvořák in 1893 while he was the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America from 1892 to 1895. It is by far his most popular symphony, and one of the most popular of all symphonies. In older literature and recordings, this symphony was often numbered as Symphony No. 5. Neil Armstrong took a recording of the New World Symphony to the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission, the first Moon landing, in 1969.

The symphony was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, and premiered on December 16, 1893, at Carnegie Hall conducted by Anton Seidl. A day earlier, in an article published in the New York Herald on December 15, 1893, Dvořák further explained how Native American music had been an influence on this symphony:
I have not actually used any of the [Native American] melodies. I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the Indian music, and, using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, counterpoint, and orchestral colour.

Dvořák did, it seems, borrow rhythms from the music of his native Bohemia, as notably in his Slavonic Dances, and the pentatonic scale in some of his music written in America from African-American and/or Native American sources.

Dvořák was influenced not only by music he had heard, but by what he had seen, in America. He wrote that he would not have composed his American pieces as he had, if he had not seen America.[15] It has been said that Dvořák was inspired by the American “wide open spaces” such as prairies he may have seen on his trip to Iowa in the summer of 1893.[16] Notices about several performances of the symphony include the phrase “wide open spaces” about what inspired the symphony and/or about the feelings it conveys to listeners.