“The parts of the brain that respond to music are very close to the parts of the brain concerned with memory, emotion, and mood,” writes Oliver Sacks, author of several books, including Musicophilia, who has done considerable research, teaching, and writing on the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition. “In amnesia, whether or not in Alzheimer’s, you lose your life. You have lost your past; you have lost your story; you have lost your identity to a considerable extent. You can at least get some feel of it and regain it, for a little while, with familiar music. People can regain a sense of identity, at least for a while.”
Please remember to arrange for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia to be participants in the World Day of Prayer. Together with the music, especially familiar hymns, this can be a wonderful opportunity for reducing social isolation. If transportation is a concern, try to meet where most can gather.
Thankfully, research on dementia continues to be a high priority in Canada. On March 20, 2019, the federal government announced an expenditure of $50,000,000 to be spent on increased public awareness of dementia through targeted campaigns and activities with a focus on risk reduction, prevention, and combatting the stigma associated with the disease. Investments will also be made in developing treatment guidelines and best practices to promote early diagnosis in cooperation with provincial and territorial partners, as well as understanding the impact of dementia on Canadian communities.