Monthly Archives: September 2010

Alzheimers and Old Memories

My sister has alzheimers. It is a low blow since with great courage she has survived cancer seven times. She has been sick so long her grandchildren didn’t know her at a time when she could tell them stories from her childhood, college, career and marriage, and they only know her as a sick person. They are now part of her caregiver team with possibly some very sad memories as her legacy. I’m writing my memories of her, things like how we climbed a certain tree every day, played circus, traded boy friends, marched in the band together along with stories of where she did her internship. So far, the stories have been read aloud by her family, and they seem to appreciate them. Thought I’d share this idea.

If you are wondering how the drum circle is going, I can say that it is first of all, FUN, and, second of all, LOUD, and is a very popular group. At the end of the month, they are planning a short performance. The leader and her assistants really know what they are doing.

Drums for Persons with Special Needs

The Circle of Friends adult group begins a new break out class tonight, and I can hardly wait to see the students  excitement when their hands first slap on to the djembes and bongos. Then hang on to your hats and maybe cover your ears if you are nearby. Joyous noise sounds like a din even if it’s organized.  The rhythm of drumming and the feeling of being centered with the earth make this an ideal outlet for many persons with disabilities, and it is ideal for persons who cannot speak but want to express themselves.

New research with children who had pre-birth trauma or post birth trauma such as abuse, major illness or violence either inflicted or witnessed have been shown to have an under-developed neuron. Researchers have had good success with improving this development using methods of rhythm including drums.

My first internet question about drum groups brought responses from Japan, Scotland, England and all across the US. Drumming is used in nursing homes and with persons with disabilities of all ages. Everyone was enthusiastic and felt that there was progress in expression and self esteem. Drumming with a group, often called a drum circle, awards a sense of belonging and being at one with others. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Tomorrow I will let you know how this group sounds, and we can chart the esteem factor.