10 Aug 2015: Dementia and Memory led by Noel

Noel challenged the group with 4 introductory questions

  1. How would you like to be treated if you develop dementia at sometime in your life? Responses: Compassion, stay (& die) at home, balance stay at home with pressure on family, have a source of ‘happy pills’ to reduce my worry, anxiousness.
  2. What would you like to say to your family? Responses: Clear the garage, decide what to do with my ashes, don’t let me become a burden.
  3. How would you like to be remembered? Responses: as I was before dementia.
  4. What type(s) of songs would you like to be listening to everyday? Responses: Basically one’s from earlier times of our lives.

The common reaction to dementia is fear but with cancer its concern. We compared John Locke’s definition of ‘What is a Person’ that could imply that someone without memory becomes a non-person (a dangerous line of argument); we preferred John Swinton’s as it is more relational. These also touch on Martin Buber’s ‘I – It, I – Thou’ philosophy

We watched part of the movie “Alive Inside” by Michael Rossato-Bennett (2014). This shows the remarkable positive impact that familiar music can have on dementia sufferers. The music seems to stimulate the whole brain; the memories are not lost – they are still there (in the brain); the interaction with the music seems to recreate the pathways to recall! Seems to be more beneficial than drugs so massive resistance from vested interests against providing personal music players.

Ian Harris