Periodically I will add posts here if the sources provide additioanl informaiton on how to think about and deal with Dementia/ Alzheimer's Disease.


SCROLL DOWN FOR TEXT and BIBLIOGRAPHY from DAI WEBINAR 2/22-23/2017. You can also find this information on my website:

Even though this blog is now dormant (see info below) there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. My guess is that you could spend a lot of time here and maybe learn or experience a thing or two about living with and loving someone with Dementia/Alzheimer's or maybe come away with the feeling that "you are not alone" in YOUR work with the same!

• • • • •


Happy New Year 2016. With a new year comes new beginnings and sometimes endings. If I am personally progressing and if I am doing a good job in my grieving Gregory's death; if I have been able to learn my lessons in living and loving someone diagnosed with Dementia/ Alzheimer's; if I am to get on with my life ... I need to bring this Alzheimer's blog to an end since my writing has been dealing less with Dementia/ Alzheimer's and more with life after Dementia/ Alzheimer's.

Of course, I will always continue to work for and support fair treatment on behalf of people with Dementia/ Alzheimer's and may post here from time to time. Also, there are many wonderful posts here through which you may browse.

With this change, I will continue and reinvigorate my "michael a. horvich writes" blog which deals with grieving Gregory's death, life lessons, personal experiences, observations, memoirs, dreams, and humor in essay and poetry, as well as an attempt now and then at sharing a piece of fiction.

Please follow me there by clicking or click the link located on the right side of this page.

Finally, COMMENTS are always important to me and you can still comment on the posts on this blog! CLICK "Comments" and sign in or use "Anonymous." Leave your name or initials if you wish so I'll know it's you? Check the "Notify Me" box to see my reply to you.

Friday, March 13, 2015

To Paint or Not To Paint

That is the question. Katharine, Gregory, and I have tried painting in art therapy for approximately five sessions. Some were a little more successful than others but for the most part Gregory's engagement rate has been minimal.

When he did go through the motions of finger painting he did not focus on the difference his hands and fingers were making in creating patterns of the color on the paper. There is a disconnect between what his hand do and what his eyes see.

We have tried the finger paint with different types of plastic gloves on a piece of paper taped to a tray. Today we tried an easel with crayons. We also tried Cray-Pas oil pastels and markers.

Gregory goes into a "I need to disappear now" shutdown, the nature of which I do not fully understand. When he cannot function, or possibly cannot piece together the necessary skills, he closes his eyes, bows his head, and sometimes leans forward.

When asked, "Are you sleeping?" he opens his eyes and said, "No." But when we try to re-engage him in painting he "shuts down" again. We tried moving his hands and arms through the motions. Not successful.

We sat quietly and waited for three for four or five minutes to see if he would respond to the Cray-Pas stick in his hand. Not successful. Katharine tried to position a marker in his hand like one would hold a pen and while he was able to do so, it lasted only for seconds.

Every now and then his fingers or hand would make a slight movement, or spasm. Perhaps the muscle memory cues that his brain was sending got through but only for a brief second.

Kathleen tried a drum filled with steel beads that makes a rattling noise. Gregory opened his eyes to study where the noise was coming from but then shut down.

Next I noticed that he placed his hands in a "playing piano" position with the drum so we got a xylophone off the shelf to see if Gregory could use the padded sticks to at least make some musical noise. Not successful.

So it looks like our nobel experiment was well worth the time but not the results and perhaps only served to frustrate Gregory. We will probably discontinue "painting" but I have to think about the possibility of putting him in front of a piano (or possibly an electronic keyboard which would be easier to play) and see if he would at least make some musical noise. I hesitate if only because I do not want to open unwanted doors to unnecessary emotions.

1 comment:

  1. I think it may be that there comes a time when doing is love no longer possible in being is the only option. And it's up to us to let go not them, because they have already let go.

    That said, I'm surely a big fan of piano, and I think you may have seen some of mom playing on the blog, if not, here's one link – it's the first time mom played piano during one of our healing music sessions:

    I believe Gregory is at a later stage than mom, but still it's worth a try, and if it doesn't work? Oh well you tried.



Comments are always welcome. You are appreciated! If you do not have a sign-in on any of the accounts below ... use ANONYMOUS. All comments are moderated and will appear as appropriate. Thanks. Please, keep commenting!