Monday, October 6, 2008

seeking advice

mom lives in a facility that consists of about 1/2 independent-living and 1/2 assisted-living residents. of those in assisted-living, a very small percentage (maybe 5%) are in what they call the memory unit where mom lives.

this morning a resident from the independent unit came up to mom's floor and a made a very generous offer. he proposed to spend an hour each monday morning reading to them and has even recruited other residents to get involved in the program.

next monday he will be reading a mark twain short story...

it is my opinion that they won't have a clue as to the meaning of what he has chosen to read. it is also my opinion..."so what." the real value of the hour will be human interaction.

i have offered to join this reading group, but i would like to find something more "dementia appropriate" to read to them. i know several of the readers here have first-hand experience with what alzheimer's patients might enjoy and i would like your input.* **

so far, my only idea is mother goose rhymes.

not to be condescending or insulting, but i'm thinking they may be familiar and besides, those rhymes never were meant to be enjoyed for their intellectual nuances as much as for their whimsy, cadence and rhyme. right?

ok...i'll stay away from "as i was going to st. ives..." hahahahhaha, that might a little complicated,

and what other than mother goose would you suggest?

* if you're involved in an alzheimer's forum, would you be willing to solicit suggestions from the participants?

** input from anyone would be much appreciated.


josephine terese said...

this is so cool! how nice of the man to start a program of sorts, just to be nice! and probably cause he's bored too..
i'll check out that mart twain link, i just was so excited i wanted to comment about how cool i think it is first.

cornbread hell said...


how ironic that you, of all people, thought it was a mark twain link.

in a way, i was really asking *you* in particular to choose your favorite mother goose rhymes for g'mommy.


cornbread hell said...

i see that i messed up the html (or something) and the link shows up on page one...

ah well. the post still works.

Annie said...

I agree with you that the cadence and familiarity are important. Which is why I will suggest Dr. Seuss. At Mom's neurologist appointment in July, they asked her to read a word. The word was cat. After a bit of hesitation, she answered "cat in the hat."

cornbread hell said...

brilliant. dr. seuss will work. thanks!

J said...

So nice of this man to reach out to others. Cat and The Hat sounds perfect!

josephine terese said...

Higgledy, piggledy, my black hen,
She lays eggs for gentlemen;
Sometimes nine, sometimes ten;
Higgledy, piggledy, my black hen.

cornbread hell said...

j - yes, his gesture is remarkable. i'd never seen him interact with the folks on the 4th floor, but he said, "they're an important part of our community."

he also has cancer. is very frail and in a lot of pain.

after the hour he spent last monday, he commented that for the first time that he could remember, he was pain-free. i interpret that to be a perfect example of the giver getting as much as the givee.

josephine - i'll tell them you suggested that one. (sounds like something petie read to you.?)

and if i can find a tuffet, i'm thinking little miss muffet should be real familiar to them.

Joanne said...

Rick, I think it's wonderful that this man is offering his time to read to other residents. Good for you for joining the reading group as well! I agree that any of the Dr. Seuss books would be great. I'm not sure I had a favorite nursery ryhme. I loved all of them. I'm sure they will, too.

Now if you ask me about poems, I would suggest, "How Do I Love Thee" by Elizabeth Barret Browning. We were forced to memorize it in school. I hated having to memorize things, but I absolutely loved the poem. Couldn't hurt for the residents to hear how much they are loved. :)

wendy said...

Sorry, rick, just got home ... I too recommend Dr. Seuss, but in particular his Dr. Seuss' Sleep Book, which is rarer, but worth it if you can find it. Also Goodnight Moon. And A.A. Milne's poetry books, Now We Are Six and When We Were Very Young. If you can't find those, I have them and can mail them to you. The language in all of these is positively seductive and as much fun to read aloud as to hear.

Cinnamin said...

Could I recommend, "love you forever" by Robert N. Munsch and Sheila McGraw? My sister gave this to me for my son when he was a toddler. It is SO sweet, and it always makes me cry! I thought of this book SO often when my Mom was ill.

Mom always liked it best when she would listen in on my son's bedtime stories. I make up a new "get away adventure" every night. Some times we go to the zoo and name the animals, other times we build sand castles on the beach or go to the world's biggest toy store and choose a toy. She really got into those stories. You might just try making one up and letting the listeners "help" the story grow!

God bless you, Rick. Your Mom is a lucky woman to have a son who loves her as much as you do!

cornbread hell said...

great suggestions, all. thanks.
keep 'em coming...

DONALD said...

Lullabyes, nostalgic cowboy songs and sea chanteys.

J said...

Just checking in to see if all is well.