Combating Dementia with Improv


The Highest Results Of Education Is Tolerance: Helen Keller

Dementia and Improv; two words you don’t normally associate together.  That did not hold

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Cathy Braxton & Tami Neumann from The Silver Dawn Training Institute 

back Tami Newman and Cathy Braxton from the Silver Dawn Training Institute from developing a cutting edge communication tool using Improv to help all of us learn how to community better with someone who is suffering from Dementia.

Dementia Raw is “shining a spotlight on unique ways to communicate with people affected by dementia.  It’s unscripted, it’s unconventional and its unapologetic training that equips you to handle everyday challenges as a caregiver.”

It goes without saying that communication is the key to healthy relationships.  Learning how to communicate with a family member, friend or client who has dementia is equally as important. Silver Dawn Logo_PRThrough their Silver Dawn Training Institute, Tami and Cathy have created
an on-line and in-person certification program that will help professional caregivers and family caregivers alike, learn how to better communicate with those affected by dementia.  To learn more how you can become a Certified Dementia Communication Specialist  simply click here! 

Don’t just take it from me; listen in to this episode of “Healing Ties”  and learn how Tami and Cathy are creating “Healing Ties” all around us.  “Healing Ties” is a part of the Whole Care Network.

 

 

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5 Unexpected Symptoms of Stress and What to Do About Them


Today we welcome guest writer Trevor McDonald to The Purple Jacket

The human body is an intricate machine, and if something goes awry it can impact a variety of subsystems. Rarely is there an issue with “just” one specific part of the body—and it’s also important to remember that holistic wellness includes physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, and social health. Stress is a big wrench thrown into the human system, and in Western countries it’s often hefted with a sense of pride. However, stress can really do a number on the body, and some symptoms can take weeks, months, or even years to manifest.

You likely know about the obvious signs of stress, such as headaches and fatigue, but stress can play out in the body in a number of tricky ways. Here are five unexpected stress symptoms that you might not see coming, and what to do about them:

  1. Hair loss. There are many causes for hair loss and issues that exacerbate them, and genetics is just part of it. Stress can cause men’s hair loss, and even women’s hair loss. The hair is one of the last places the body routes nutrients towards because it’s not nearly as necessary for survival, unlike many other body parts (such as organs, muscles, and bones). Hair goes through natural shedding cycles, but if you’re constantly exposed to stress it might seem like your hair is in non-stop shedding mode. Stress-related hair loss usually presents as exaggerated thinning and not the classic “male pattern baldness” or patches of baldness.

What can you do about it? The first step is doing something  to reduce stress. There are also a variety of hair loss reversal tactics, such as using topical minoxidil (Rogaine’s active ingredient) to stimulate hair growth and stop stress-related shedding. Only shampooing every two or three days with a paraben-free shampoo designed to stimulate the scalp can also help. Laser combs and helmets with stimulating diodes have also shown great promise.

  1. Skin breakouts. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, but preventing breakouts is at the bottom of your body’s to-do list. Both stress and hormone shifts can cause acne, breakouts, and flare-ups. Acne can be painful, but if it’s stress-related it’s likely more embarrassing and a confidence killer than anything else. Fortunately, there are many ways to address it.

Again, reduce stress. Try over the counter topical treatments first, as well as acne-specific facial cleansers and astringents. Moving to prescription-based topicals is the next step. In severe cases, medications may be prescribed or a dermatologist might suggest dermabrasion or chemical peels to correct acne scarring.

  1. Low libido. Few people feel “in the mood” when they’re highly stressed, which is perfectly normal. However, if you’re chronically stressed, your libido may chronically suffer. This can cause big problems in relationships, preventing you from bonding.

Lower your stress, and you’ll raise your libido. Other approaches include prioritizing intimacy with partners, scheduling romantic dates, and making an effort to feel and look your best. Remember that intimacy is paramount for many to bond.

  1. Thin, peeling nails. Not only can stress cause nails to be fragile, you might also be inclined to bite and chew them from stress. Your hands operate as a quick, easy sign of overall health. In professional and personal relationships, you might be judged by your hands.

 Stress reduction is still the number one route to healthier nails. Regular manicures for both men and women can also work wonders. Opt for a paraffin dip, keep nails short and trimmed if they’re prone to breaking, and keep your hands moisturized throughout the day to prevent cracking and hangnails. A biotin supplement can also aid in hair, skin, and nail health.

  1. Almost every disease imaginable. Stress has been linked to almost every disease there is including heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, mental health issues like depression and anxiety, and much more. Some of these diseases are curable, but many are not. Many can also be life-threatening.

If you needed another reason to reduce stress, this is it. Stress management is core to overall health and well-being. Preventative care, including stress reduction, is the easiest, fastest, and most affordable way to manage or avoid deadly and painful diseases and disorders.

Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic whose been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.

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What is Iot and How is it Changing Our Lives


We welcome guest writer, Christopher Britton to The Purple Jacket.

Notice how the Internet affects almost every aspect of our daily lives? It doesn’t matter where you are—at home or at work—the Internet impacts everything. There’s actually a name for that and it is on point. This phenomenon is called the Internet of Things or IoT.

The Internet of Things is a concept wherein you can connect any device with an on and off switch to the Internet. Sounds familiar? Yes, we’re talking about mobile phones, laptops, wearable devices, and even coffee makers and washing machines. Broadband Internet, Wi-Fi, and the decreasing cost of technology are all contributing to the spread of IoT.

In short, the Internet of Things is a giant network of connected things and people. Gartner, an analyst firm specializing in technology, estimates that by 2020, there will be over 26 billion connected devices connecting people-people, people-things, and things-things. In the very near future, anything that can be connected will be connected.

The IoT impacts our lives in a greater magnitude that we all can grasp. It makes the workplace, the home, and our cities smarter. Just by zeroing in on how IoT impacts our home living will make you realize that we will all soon have our own Jarvis.

Let’s take a look at how technology is transforming our home and how IoT impacts our lives, one innovation at a time.

Home management made easy

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Photo courtesy of Gramophone Maryland via Flickr

The evolution of a smart home is something that always comes up in a discussion on IoT. Electric appliances at home now adjust to your lifestyle. Thermostats and lighting can eventually create an optimal setting based on your daily life. Even before you arrive home, you can turn on and adjust your  thermostat.

Things around the house also communicate to one another. When the alarm goes off, the coffee maker starts brewing your coffee. There are even smart refrigerators that will notify you when staples are running low.

And when no one is home, these gadgets and appliances will sense it and turn off automatically, reducing energy consumption in the process. The US Environmental Protection Agency found that using schedules and temperature settings can reduce energy cost by 10% to 30%.

Now, you can worry about the more important things in life such as preparing the best breakfast for your family and sending your kids off to school.

Security at your fingertips

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Photo courtesy of informedmag.com 

Home security systems keep burglars away. A study found that four out of every five burglars would attempt to find out if security devices are installed and more than half would flee if  there is an alarm present.

This is why one very important aspect of home living is safety and security. And since it is physically impossible to guard your home and loved ones 24/7, smart security systems can do that for you.

The Honeywell Total Connect is one such system that takes care of your home security wherever and whenever you are. A smart home with Honeywell Total Connect enables you to monitor, access, and control security using a smartphone. You may view the videos being captured by security cameras in real-time, get notified via text or email when something unusual is happening back home, and lets you manage security settings remotely.

Technology of baby monitoring

Digital parenting is now the thing for parents. Nothing still beats being there for your child every second but that is simply not possible for working parents. But technology has enabled parents to stay connected with their babies wherever they are and whatever it is they are doing.

Smart cribs now have microphones and sensors in them that can detect when a baby is crying. There are apps that let parents monitor their baby’s sleeping patterns. During critical early months, there are wearables for babies so that parents can keep tabs on the baby’s health. Wi-Fi-powered baby monitors, app-controlled thermostats, and other wearable devices help modern parents keep track of their baby’s health and activities.

Being able to monitor your baby is a welcome improvement to modern home living. Family set-ups are no longer what they used to be and knowing that your child is safe and protected at all times gives you peace of mind.

Sensors in our body

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Photo courtesy of Intel Free Press via Flickr

People are now more connected to everything than ever before. Wearable technology are integrated into different systems such as phones and social media accounts so that we can track our own activities and the things that matter to us.

It is now possible to monitor sleeping patterns and calories lost during workouts. There are also wearable sensors that can detect environmental factors such as the weather. Smartphones will serve as everyone’s tool to thrive in a digital ecosystem.

Prepared for the journey ahead

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Photo courtesy of jay-jerry via Flickr

One of the easily noticeable changes with our daily lives is how our cars are connected to everything. More than GPS, road sensors can now communicate to your dashboard about unsafe driving conditions. Smart cars can now monitor real-time traffic everywhere with the use of satellite navigation systems that gives you rerouting options. Other car sensors will help you monitor engine performance and even find parking spaces. In short, journeys today are safer and a little less stressful. Soon enough, driver-less cars will be available and your daily commute will never be the same again.

The Internet of Things is this generation’s own industrial revolution. Soon, everything will be connected to our phones. Everything we own will be connected to something. Everything will be up there in the cloud. The IoT is already changing the way you live, even if you’re not fully aware of it. And very soon, you could be controlling everything with a wave of your hand.

Christopher Britton  Interior Architect, Home Security Consultant and a Writer. He often writes about home improvement, home security and privacy, green and simple living, geometric and structural designs technological home advances and home design.  I am into sports and travelling too.  You can reach Christopher at christopherbritton011@gmail.com

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The Family Historian


A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. Marcus Garvey

I did not have the opportunity to meet three of my four grandparents.  Aunt and Uncles? Well they lived in Canada and New Orleans; I grew up far far away, in St. Louis.  While the internet has made the world smaller and quite a bit faster; how are we preserving our family legacy for generations to learn about there family history?

Mike Stith from One Legacy has a  passion for collecting inspirational stories.  Mike believes that by sharing stories, “we’re adding a special piece of history for future generations.”  Mike’s new publication, The Family Historian 20170211_110727continues to share  special pieces of family history, yet in a more traditional way. The Family Historian is in newspaper format and is available for free!  Imagine sitting in a waiting room at the doctor’s office and picking up a copy of The Family Historian and being comforted by stories that are similar to yours?

While the internet has changed the way we communicate, there is something special about holding a publication in your hand while reading compelling stories.  The Family Historian is a publication you will want to take home with you!

Everyone has a story, but not everyone gets to tell there story. Listen in and learn how Mike Stith from One Legacy and The Family Historian is creating Healing Ties all around us!  

To learn more about One Legacy and The Family Historian click hereWould you like to receive The Family Historian journal free at your business or organization? Contact info@onelegacy.com or call 618-960-7252 today!

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I’m a Teenage Caregiver: Now What?


“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”       Albert Einstein

aacy_logo-for-webNot every child gets 18 years of childhood. There are an estimate of 1.3 million caregiving children ages 8.-18 years old in the U.S.*  We often think of Caregiving as a role solely for adults. Child caregivers are a hidden, vulnerable population in the US, sacrificing their education, health and childhood while fulfilling roles and responsibilities beyond their years.  The risk of underachievement and high school dropout increases for teenagers who end up taking on the role as family caregiver.

When child caregivers are recognized and supported, their lives change and they learn that they are not alone. The American Association of Caregiving Youth of Palm Beach, County (FL) was developed by Connie Siskowski, RN, PHD and is the first US program to support the hidden population of child caregivers.   Through a variety programs to help young caregivers and their families, the American Association of Caregiving Youth brings the issues facing young caregivers and their families to the forefront.

Don’t just take it from me, listen in and learn how Connie Siskowski and American Association of Caregiving Youth is creating Healing Ties all around us!

To learn more about the American Association of Caregiving Youth and the upcoming Caregiving Youth Institute conference on Thursday, April 27th in Boca Raton, Florida simply click here! 

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Author’s Spotlight: Mama Peaches and Me.


All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. Abraham Lincoln

kl-portfolio-1Combining his personal stories and no-nonsense advice with a healthy dose of humor,Christopher Chaney writes about what it means to love and care for an aging parent in his book Mama Peaches and Me. This book is the first of the Mama Peaches Caregiving Reading Series.

With a mixture of humor, scripture and timely caregiving tips, Mama Peaches and Me is like having a close friend to support those caring for an aging parent, disabled spouse and other loved ones.  As I read through Christopher’s book, I felt like I was part of the family.  Christopher’s nine caregiving tips are essential for all caregivers. A must-read for anyone who is a caregiver or anyone who just loves old-school humor.

Don’t just take it from me; Listen in and learn how Christopher Chaney is creating Healing Ties all around us!

287855_bd19c93bb5f2408da345c5485e2e963d-mv2_d_1672_2316_s_2In celebration of National Caregivers Day (Feb. 17th)  Christopher is offering the e-book version of my Mama Peaches and Me book absolutely free for two days only (Feb 17 and 18).  This book was named as one of the eight best caregiving books of 2017 by the editor of care.com . Getting your Free e-Book is easy and quick when you visit my website at http://www.authorchristopher.com./    Use promo code: Bowtie for your free book! 

Christopher-Charles Chaney is a caregiving advocate, published author, award-winning public speaking champion and CEO of Kingdom Majesty International Ministries.

 

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Caregivers As Servant Leaders


A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way ~ John C. Maxwell

Just recently I have come across a new meaning for family Caregivers, one that I have learned while finishing my master’s degree in Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga University and that is the connection caregivers have to Servant Leadership.

Robert Greenleaf is known as the founder of Servant Leadership and once said: “The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve; to serve first. The conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is a leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual tiles-1424714_1920power drive or to acquire material possessions.”   While  Servant Leadership focus is on Business, Managers and Work Place Culture, I see a connection to Caregivers as Servant Leaders  because of our role to serve first, to advocate, to be the voice for those who could not speak, to put ourselves second.

Some of the characteristics of a work-place culture driven by Servant Leadership is that staff is fully engaged, feels a strong commitment to the cause, find purpose and have passion. Organizations who propose a culture of Servant Leaders are mindful of the whole, empower their employees to be connected and contributing.  Stephen Covey was the “Greeenleaf” of leadership training for the military back in the 90’s,  In Greenleaf (2002), Stephen Covey stated that, “The deepest part of human nature is that which urges people—each one of us—to rise above our present circumstances and to transcend our common nature. If you can appeal to it, you tap into a whole new source of human motivation.”

I see quite a bit of philosophy entwined between Servant Leadership and being a family caregiver. Caregivers are commitment to the cause, find purpose and have passion to care.  Caregivers are mindful of their caree, while understanding that their caree needs to feel empowered, loved, connected and contributing.  Because of the innate ability of the caregiver to think beyond self, caregiving and Servant Leadership goes hand-in-hand.

Organizations who commit to the philosophy of Servant Leadership will certainly understand the special needs of working family caregivers. These same organizations will be leaders in helping the working family caregiver reduce conflicts when an emergency arise and they have to choose between going to work, or staying home to care for their caree. Employers who understand their bottom-line and return on investment is vested in how they treat their most important customer, their employee, lead by example and reap all the  benefits of having a work-place culture that promotes open dialogue and passion with employees.

You can’t put a price tag on employee morale, or can you?

We are all Servant Leaders in training, and our training in Servant Leadership is ongoing, it never stops. Servant Leadership is about relationships.   Even after Caregiving has ended for me, I am still in training, learning how to care for myself while being present to my family, friends and co-workers.  Life After Caregiving is about relationships, too.  I see the connection to Servant Leadership and Caregiving, do you?

Oh…what did being a family caregiver mean to me? It meant the world! Because in the end, just as in the beginning of our caregiving journey, we were fortunate to have some of the most meaningful conversations with each other, while spending every second, minute, hour, day, month and year together.

 

 

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When Is It Safe To Stop Driving?


Don’t find fault, find a remedy. Henry Ford

After retiring from a very successful 24-year career with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Matt Gurwell quickly recognized that he was still filled with a desire for improving highway safety and more specifically, a passion to help keep older drivers, safe drivers.
As a result, Matt Gurwell founded Keeping Us Safe, a national organization with a mission to help keep older drivers safe. Matt has developed programs that provide senior drivers and their families with direction in helping to ensure one’s smooth transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat.
Helping older drivers with diminished driving skills make a smooth transition from the drivers seat to the passenger seat can be a challenge.  Matt’s first tip: don’t put off the conversation. Matt’s creative, innovative and common sense approach, combined with his uncanny ability to bring calm and resolve to stressful situations without ever jeopardizing the dignity of others, has contributed greatly to the success of Keeping Us Safe’s programs.
Don’t just take it from me!  Listen in and learn how Matt Gurwell is creating Healing Ties all around us and more importantly,  how you can earn a Mr. Safe Key from mrhappykey_logo_positioner-512Keeping Us Safe!  

Brief Summary of Services:

  1. Enhanced Self-Assessment Program

This individualized program has been designed to serve as a valuable tool in helping older drivers (and their families) make appropriate decisions regarding the future of one’s safe driving career.  If the individual is a safe driver, we provide him or her with strategies on how to remain a safe driver as they progress through the aging process.  If driving retirement is the appropriate decision, then we provide the individual (and their family) with acceptable alternatives, resources and a very specific plan to ensure a smooth and successful transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat.

  1. “Beyond Driving with Dignity; The workbook for older drivers and their families”

Working through this instrument will help your family make driving-related decisions that are not only in the best interest of the older driver, but simultaneously find themselves in the best interest of highway safety in general. This workbook was designed to be used by your family in the confidence and comfort of your own home, most likely seated right at your family’s kitchen table.

 

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Visit Matt Gurwell at:
Email:  info@keepingusesafe.org
Phone:     877-907-884

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5 Tips for Talking With a Person Who Has Alzheimer’s


“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today we welcome award winning author Marie Marley to The Purple Jacket.

Yesterday afternoon I walked into Mary’s spacious room. Mary is a woman who has few visitors and who I’ve volunteered to spend a little time with every week. I greeted her, complimented her on her beautiful turquoise sweater and shook her hand.

Then I sat down at her little table that was overflowing with books, photographs, the newspaper and other items she wants to keep close at hand. I started off by picking up a small framed photo of Mary with her husband and three children — two sons and a daughter.

“Tell me about your daughter,” I said, using an open-ended question because they have no right or wrong answers. That’s a tip I picked up from The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care by Virginia Bell and David Troxell.

“Oh, her name is Connie,” she told me. “She has four children — two boys and two girls.”

She continued by giving me several details about Connie and her family. I then picked up a photograph of Mary and her twin sister, Bernice, and she told me about how they took piano lessons together when they were children. After a few minutes, I asked her if her daughter ever played a musical instrument.

“I don’t have a daughter,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Oh,” I countered, picking up the family photo again and holding it out for her to see. “You just told me you have a daughter. Here she is.”

Mary’s face fell and she said very quietly, “I guess I do have a daughter.”

I immediately felt sorry for her embarrassment and was disgusted with myself for having pointed out her mistake. I realized I’d just broken one of the cardinal rules for interacting with a person who has dementia. I’d just read it in The Best Friend’s Approach that very morning: “Let the person save face.”

When relating to a person with Alzheimer’s there are many guidelines to follow. I’m going to discuss five basic ones here: 1) Don’t tell them they are wrong about something, 2) Don’t argue with them, 3) Don’t ask if they remember something, 4) Don’t remind them that their spouse, parent or other loved one is dead and 5) Don’t bring up topics that may upset them.

Don’t Tell Them They’re Wrong About Something: To let the person save face, it’s best not to contradict or correct them if they say something wrong. There’s usually no good reason to do that. If they’re alert enough, they’ll realize they made a mistake and feel bad about it. Even if they don’t understand their error, correcting them may embarrass or otherwise be unpleasant for them.

Don’t Argue With the Person: It’s never a good idea to argue with a person who has dementia. First of all, you can’t win. And second, it will probably upset them or even make them angry. I learned a long time ago, when caring for my beloved Romanian soul mate, Ed, the best thing to do is simply change the subject — preferably to something pleasant that will immediately catch their attention.

Don’t Ask if They Remember Something: When talking with a person who has Alzheimer’s, it’s so tempting to ask them if they remember some person or event. “What did you have for lunch?” “What did you do this morning?” “Do you remember that we had candy bars when I visited last week?” “This is David. Do you remember him?” Of course they may not remember. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have a diagnosis of dementia. It could embarrass or frustrate them if they don’t remember. It’s better to say, “I remember that we had candy the last time I was here. It was delicious.”

Don’t Remind the Person that a Loved One Is Dead: It’s not uncommon for people with dementia to believe their deceased spouse, parent or other loved one is still alive. They may be confused or feel hurt that the person doesn’t come to visit. If you inform them that the person is dead, they might not believe it and become angry with you. If they do believe you, they’ll probably be very upset by the news. What’s more, they’re likely to soon forget what you said and go back to believing their loved one is still alive. An exception to this guideline is if they ask you if the person is gone. Then it’s wise to give them an honest answer, even if they will soon forget it, and then go on to some other topic.

Don’t Bring up Other Topics That May Upset Them: There’s no reason to bring up topics you know may upset your loved one. If you don’t see eye-to eye on politics, for example, don’t even bring it up. It may just start an argument, which goes against the second guideline above. You won’t prevail and it’s just likely to cause them anger and/or frustration.

So there you go. A few guidelines for visiting. I hope these will be helpful to you in visiting your loved one and enriching the time you have together.

unnamedMarie Marley is the award-winning author of Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy and co-author (with Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN) of Finding Joy in Alzheimer’s: New Hope for Caregivers. Her website (ComeBackEarlyToday.com) contains a wealth of information for Alzheimer’s caregivers.

 

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The Essence of Music Therapy


Where words fail, music speaks. Hans Christian Andersen

I have to be  honest, I’m a frustrated singer.  Oh, I’ve tried to sing in a chorus and of course, just like you, I’ve sung a few tunes in the shower, loudly I might add!  Music is the essential human experience and Marlon Sobol has a passion for music. As a music therapist, Marlon’s passion for music transcends, staff, residents and administrators alike.

As Manager of the Music Therapy Department at Schnurmacher Center for Rehab and Nursing in White Plains, NY, Sobol implements programming that include drumming, improvisation, dancing, bell chiming,song writing, singing, anmarlon-still-6-color-1d listening with verbal processing to meet the clinical and cultural needs of the facility’s in house and local community.

According to Sobol, “residents spend an average of 5 to 8 hours in front of a TV which is not good for anyone.  Music alleviates  agitation and encourages moment. And music is the path in the wilderness of dementia.”

Now Marlon has created a program called “Keep On Moving TV for Seniors” so caregivers and facilities will have an “easy to access resource”, that will greatly enhance the quality of life for all of our later years.  Listen in and learn how Marlon is creating “Healing Ties” and changing lives through his music. The rhythm is going to get you!

To learn more about “Keep On Moving TV for Seniors” and to support Marlon’s work visit:   https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/keep-on-moving-tv-for-seniors–2

Marlon Sobol’s work as both musician and music therapist have been featured in “DRUM!”marlon-still-3-color-1 Magazine; in “Preserving Your Memory” Magazine;  in the Journal News, and on Armand Dimele’s, “The Positive Mind,” and NPR’s “Soundcheck” with John Schaefer. 

 

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