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May 18, 2004


Caring for Dora physically is easy. The challenge is keeping her stimulated, engaged, and occupied, given her limited sight, memory, energy, and mobility. It is too much for one person to sustain. A rich perceptual and sensory environment is so important. She needs companionship, hates to be alone, whether awake or in bed. She can follow a single-stranded conversation, if it is clear and straightforward and of interest to her.
Two breakthroughs. First, she is responsive to Yiddish songs and even got all the jokes on a Menashe Skulnik routine. Reyna checked out the CDs, read the liner notes, and plans on playing the music for Dora to occupy her when Mayer is downstairs painting. I dug around the den looking for CDs and found Mayer's stash of cassette tapes, including Theodor Bikel!

mariam.jpeg And, best of all, one of Mariam Nirenberg singing at a YIVO concert that I organized many years ago to celebrate the release of the record we made of her songs. Here are song samples. Mariam's son Les was there and so was Dora. Mariam, a voice from Dora's childhood in Poland. A voice from the other side. Mariam passed away a few years ago. On this tape, her vibrant voice resonates through the room. And, so does Dora's. There she is on the tape, in her prime, speaking from her intact self. Here she is now, listening to herself then. Many of the songs are about the passage of time, about lost childhood, about growing old, about love.
Second, we succeeded in getting her to go out with Rayna in the wheelchair on their own. They had a heart to heart chat, and Dora gave Rayna good advice about life. She was even affectionate toward Rayna. So, we are making progress.

Posted by BKG at May 18, 2004 08:55 AM


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