Who Will Be Singing At Your Bedside?


Posted:  August 2, 2013  6:00 AM 


According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “by 2025, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease is estimated to reach 7.1 million…..By 2050, the number may nearly triple, to a projected 13.8 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or stop the disease.”  All too often, we focus on the financial aspects of aging and healthcare, rather than the equally important emotional aspect.  


Regardless of whether you’re a consumer or an advisor, we recommend looking at the “human side” of aging through the novel; If Music Be The Food of Love.


Written by St. Louis music educator, Denise Elam Dauw, it is a fiction novel focusing on three ailing women whose lives were forever changed through the powerful presence of music.  The historical fiction book covers multiple generations, from the 1940s to today, and uses a varied repertoire to directly address how the memories of an Alzheimer’s patient can be momentarily unlocked when music is present.


Ms. Elam Dauw’s primary inspiration began over three years ago with a hospital visit to her grandmother, who was suffering from an infected bedsore and pneumonia; she was completely unresponsive as an Alzheimer’s patient of over nine years.  After several attempts to invoke a response from speaking to touching, Ms. Elam Dauw decided to sing old standards her grandma sang to her as a child.  Miraculously, her grandmother’s head turned in the direction of voice, her eyes began to open, and finally, she attempted to utter the lyrics….


Even with Ms. Elam Dauw’s professional music training, she never realized the responses to music could be so prominent in a dementia patient.  The epiphany inspired her to spend several months researching and analyzing the facts about Alzheimer’s, even speaking with top neurologists specializing in the disease, to unveil how the brain’s medial pre-frontal cortex is the last portion consumed by AD and what connects us to our autobiographical information.  


The interviews and research validated a solid and plausible plot.....


As a middle school band director, Ms. Elam Dauw wanted to find a commercial way to communicate with all age groups, but specifically the adolescent audience she knew would be dealing with this tragic epidemic as baby boomer parents and grandparents become afflicted.  Her narrative love story taps into the sad reality of multiple scenarios in which the caregivers and family members adhere to the challenges of dementia.


As the sixth leading cause of death with no cure, no preventative treatments, and no way to slow down symptoms, Ms. Elam Dauw’s message is clear: We all must do our part “to continue traditions of music excellence in our schools to ensure connections to our families, their thoughts, and their minds until the end of natural life.”  Her novel offers ways to get involved, discussion questions for all age groups, and Alzheimer’s myths and untruths for those seeking ways to learn more about the disease.  As a volunteer for the St. Louis Chapter, a portion of each book sold benefits the Alzheimer’s Association.




If you're interested in reading the book, you can find this book at

Amazon.com by clicking on the photo above or at Barnes & Noble.