Music & Memory

Music is the medicine of the mind

The topic of conversation at our cafes this month was about Music and Memory. Christi Clark, Executive Director of Insight Memory Care Center talked about it with us at our Cafe Fairfax last week, and then we shared what we learned at our Cafes Alexandria and Ashburn. Insight has been awarded $500,000, and is working with George Mason University, to bring the Music and Memory program to 114 nursing homes in Virginia. Very exciting news!

We learned that music can calm anxiety and depression symptoms, and enhance verbal memory and learning new information. The songs we tend to remember best are from our late teens and early twenties. The key is to create a personal playlist, not just of a favorite artist or a favorite album, but the songs that have the most meaning and trigger happy memories for the individual. Have you ever listened to an album and skipped songs that you didn’t like as much? With a personal play list on an iPod or MP3 player, you can exclude those songs and just listen to your favorites.

We shared handouts that we received from Christi. If you click on the titles, you can download them. All three are PDFs.
The Power of Music: How Music Affects Us and Our Brains
The other two were:
Music Assessment Questionnaire and
Music Genre/Artist Preference Matrix.
You can use these to create your own personal playlist.
This can be an ongoing activity and a way to engage someone in conversation and sharing memories.

Music is life.If you, or someone you know, is downsizing and looking for a new home for iPods or MP3 players, and CD’s (as long as they are an appropriate genre) Insight is happy to accept your donations. Please drop your items off at their center (3953 Pender Drive, Suite 100, Fairfax, VA 22030) or email Christi at They may have workshops in the future about their Music and Memory program and I’ll be sure to let you know when and where.

Music can also help with movement which is why we feature the latest updates from Dance for PD each month. They have an archive of classes that you can watch and move along with. Click here for more information on our Community Events page.

Cafe Ashburn
Wow! What a turnout we had this month! Thank you to everyone who attended and welcome to those of you who joined us for the first time. We talked about Music and Memory and shared handouts. We also talked about the video on nutrition that I shared with you last week. I’m repeating it below for those of you who may have missed it.
After our cafe, we spoke to staff at Tribute at One Loudoun about moving to another area in the community as the room we were using is needed for other activities. We will now be meeting in part of the dining room around the corner. We’ll help you find us when you come next month.

for January 26 Fair Oaks Parkinson’s support group meeting

Due to an outbreak of flu at Sunrise, the Fair Oaks Folks are moving our January 26th meeting (this Saturday) to another location. The time is still from 10:00 am – 12 noon.

The Cancer Center Bldg.
3580 Joseph Siewick Drive, Fairfax   map

This building is on the Fair Oaks Hospital campus, just down the street from Sunrise and across the street from the main hospital. There is handicap parking in front and across the street.

  • Enter the building and go down the hall to the elevator on your left
  • Go down to the lower level
  • Take a left turn off the elevator and through the glass doors
  • You will see Conference rooms A and B in front of you
  • You have arrived!

Sonia, Ruth Ann, and Regina will be talking about hospitalization and Parkinson’s – Prepare For Your Care:  How to come home from hospital in better shape than when you went in. We look forward to seeing you there.
More information about the Fair Oaks Parkinson support group on their website.

Folks in and around Alexandria might be interested in this event in February.
Senior Services of Alexandria presents: Staying Connected in Your Community
Thursday, February 14, 2019
10:00 a.m.-Noon (Registration at 9:30)
Where? Westminster Presbyterian Church
2701 Cameron Mills Road, Alexandria, VA
Come find out all the ways to get connected in the city of Alexandria to meet new friends, learn about its history and get involved! There will be representatives from: Volunteer Alexandria, Office of Historic Alexandria, No. VA Community College, City of Alexandria’s Office of Public Information
This event is free and open the public. Refreshments will be provided.
Please RSVP online at or by calling (703) 836 4414 ext. 110.

Nutrition for Parkinson’s
healthy foodsLast week I found a video on nutrition that really impressed me and I wrote about it in last week’s issue of Out & About and our blog. This week I heard from several people who really appreciated it (thank you for your feedback!), and I mentioned at our cafes this week that I would repeat it in case people missed it last week.

  • The panel in the video consists of two doctors and a patient, and addresses a number of issues I’ve been asked about such as protein and levodopa, unintentional weight loss, constipation, supplements, and more. They’ve packed a lot of good explanations and suggestions into 35 minutes, and I highly recommend it. Click here to view – it’s episode 3 on this page.
  • This video is on, part of the ParkinsonNet initiative – (this is the link for the English language version) – led by Prof. dr Bastiaan Bloem. I heard Dr. Bloem speak at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016, and I appreciate how his explanations are so easy to understand.
  • Season one on ParkinsonTV covers the basics, and in season two they discuss mental health. In the episode on nutrition, they refer to the episode on medications (episode 2), and it’s worth watching, too. If you’re looking for something to do when you’re housebound on these snow/ice days, how about checking out these TV shows?

Keep Moving

Often at our cafes we talk about the various exercise classes people are attending, such as Alec’s Rock Steady Boxing classes. Click here to check out our Keep Moving page which includes information about Alec’s classes.

Hope to see you out and about again soon!


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