Carol, a friend of mine from Twitter and Facebook takes care of her mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.  Her caregiving is a 24 hour/7  day a week job and of course, she goes through much frustration and angst through the week.  But there is one thing that is very different about this caregiver and her mother……they both love the arts. Carol goes through much trouble to make sure that her mother is stimulated with audio and visual versions of symphonies, ballets,  and photography (especially of children, animals and flowers).

I wanted to post a sample of her blog here and because I love ballet myself and have recently returned to classroom instruction, I chose the following post.  I know you’ll enjoy it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

See end for video of Mom dancing along.

That memorable line is from “Chorus Line,” where Sheila tells of her romance with the ballet.

Everything was beautiful at the ballet.
Graceful men lift lovely girls in white.
Everything was beautiful at ballet.
I was happy… at the ballet.

Ballet seems a bit of a stretch for a tactic when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, and I really didn’t embrace the possibilities soon enough. After years of caregiving, I discovered Mom would absorb video images of classical conductors and musicians. I realized this when I invited her to view (wearing headphones) the Beethoven’s 9th concert scene in the Beethoven biopic “Copying Beethoven.” I thought she’d enjoy it because it was familiar music; and the movie featured a dramatic, condensed version of the entire symphony. I was pleasantly surprised when she just about dove into the TV screen to be part of the orchestra, conducting along with correct timing and phrasing. (I’ll write another post just about using classical music DVDs for enrichment.)

When I subscribed to Netflix, I drooled over their large selection of ballets, musicals, and concerts. Now I was free to experiment. I decided to fill in my own cultural gaps by viewing “Swan Lake,” a full length ballet with some ho-hum portions featuring dances by villagers, dances in the court in anticipation of the prince choosing a bride. They were entertainment within the ballet’s own story, but didn’t move the actual plot (contrast with a ballet of Romeo and Juliet).  More here.


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