I often hear from adults of having a great dread of developing Dementia…usually Alzheimers..with very gradual onset and ending up in a Memory Care Unit. Thru the media, many well known individuals have made us acutely aware of this tragic process. With Former President Reagan, Actor Charlton Heston, and so many more. Over the past year, there has been a very poignant Farewell Tour with major media coverage and family interviews of Singer Glen Campbell, as he and his family address this condition day by day and he still performs. From YouTube will hope that this video opens:
Until I took the time to read his biography in detail, I had clearly failed to appreciate how much of a musical influence he has had in our Country. I had been more interested in some of the singer/songwriters that had contributed to his success…John Hartford, in particular..whose life was cut too short by many years battling with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.”Gentle on My Mind” is one of my favorite songs written by John Hartford and seems particularly appropriate for its Title in the context of this post. How ironic the destructive forces that people place on their brains via drugs of abuse, prescription medications, life styles so neurotoxic…and then, when a dementia-related illness is discovered -that very organ of the human body – namely the brain – takes on such a different priority. Major Organ transplants common today, but not the human brain.
Back to John Hartford’s “Gentle On My Mind” made most famous by Glenn Campbell
Perhaps the gradual process of the dementia family accounts for the dread of ever having it. And the fact that to date, there is no cure for the vast majority of types. Life style changes may slow Multi-Infarct Dementia-such as controlling blood pressure, blood sugars, and exercise. For ALZ type, the medications have been very disappointing. Add to that, FDA Black Box Warnings to not give antipsychotics to Dementia Patients – a practice far too common in spite of the warning. Nursing Home Patients too often seem to receive these medications for behavioral control, in spite of increased risk of heart attack and/or stroke from the medications. Their fragile, gentle brains do not handle these potent antipsychotics well at all.
So I post this information with no great news of breakthroughs ,,, but as an update on the painful reality of so many family and friends that are left to live with loved ones whose minds can be found to be slipping away with no known cure.
John Hartford with his "Gentle On My Mind" video -surrounded by some musical greats.