Today, December 16th, would have been Ludwig von Beethoven’s 245th birthday, and so the radio has been playing beautiful pieces of his music all day long. It is a fitting day to begin my blog about my time at home as a caregiver for my elderly mother as we both adore classical music. How much pleasure it gives my 88-year-old mother to listen to his symphonies and piano concertos! In a while, we will watch the movie, “Immortal Beloved,” and although I will have to explain to her what is going on, it has become an annual ritual for us to sit on the couch and cry together.
It doesn’t matter to us that the story may be a fabrication of a possible event in the composer’s life, we enjoy it immensely. What does matter is that at a time when Mom and I cannot take part in some of the same pastimes we did when she was younger, we have a connection which makes us happy.
How wonderful that I can turn on my laptop and get clear reception from a website when the radio is full of static, or I can turn to YouTube to play the music she loves. She can watch the orchestra on the screen as well, or a ballet or an opera. I’ve a collection of DVD’s for her (defined as “nothing scary”), including Disney’s, “Fantasia” which, if you have never seen, will absolutely amaze you with its innovation and creativity!
Mom was formally diagnosed years ago with vascular dementia (although I always thought it might be Dementia with Lewy Bodies), but it didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize even then that her memory had been failing for quite some time. She’s been living with me since early 2012 when it became clear that she was unable to care for herself. Since that time, we’ve learned a lot of lessons, made a lot of adjustments, and come out smilin’.
This blog is an attempt to tell you how we did it – naturally.
Please, please visit this website about a wonderful movie directed by Michael Rossato-Bennett that won the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It’s entitled, “Alive Inside: Music and Memory,” and it will touch you to the very core!