Category Archives: Speaker

Songs in my head

I think in song lyrics. I open my laptop and the words to a Bahamian lullaby pop out of my mouth: “All my files Lord, so-oon be open.” This just happens with me. And yet if you sit beside me in church when I have the words of a hymn in front of me, I’ll sing different words. My good friend Emily chuckles and says, “How can you get the notes so right and the words so wrong?”

Music has always been a part of my life. It’s something I can share during a presentation or at the bedside of a Hospice patient. When I worked in a dementia care community, I used song to greet the residents. Music can be used to shift moods, to acknowledge sadness, to release anger, to embrace happiness. As a family caregiver, you can use music to connect with your parents. Instead of listening to “their” music or “your music,” take turns. My dad and I dance to Madonna and Frankie Valli. Instead of telling your kids or grandkids to “turn off that noise,” engage with them. What is it about the beat, the words, the band that they enjoy?

IMG_2513More than just enjoyment, music can also be used to help someone who has suffered a stroke to relearn how to speak, a person with Parkinson’s disease to improve their posture and reduce pain, or a patient in Hospice to leave a song legacy. I welcomed back Melissa Hirokawa, M.M. MT-BC, Neurologic Music Therapy Fellow, on “The Unexpected Caregiver Radio Show,” where we focused on using music in stroke therapy. Melissa clearly loves her job and shares delightful stories of how her work has improved the lives of those elders to whom she gives care. Our previous interview focused on how music therapy supports the family caregiver. Both interviews are upbeat and insightful.

Whether you engage a music therapist, use songs to connect with your loved one, or like me, think in songs, let music support your on your caregiving journey.

Are You a “Wise Hoot”?

I designed a seminar called “Connecting with and Coaching Caregivers of Older Adults” for Health Ed and presented in Des Moines, IA, this past Friday. I travel to Cedar Rapids next week and then Milwaukee in May. I had a great group of professional caregivers last Friday, all eager to learn better methods of supporting the family caregiver.

One participant named Liz came back after lunch with a crazy, owl ring. She gave it to me and said, “This is because you’re wise and you’re a hoot.” Read more »

Cedar Sinai Park Presents Kari Berit, The Unexpected Caregiver – Open Event 05/08/2012

You are invited this evening!(Tuesday, May 8th, 7 p.m.)

Kari will be presenting “The Unexpected Caregiver”

Everyone is invited

Mittleman JCC at 6651 SW Capital Hwy, Portland, OR Read more »

Kari Berit raises awareness on Showcase Minnesota 11/23/10

Kari dropped by the Showcase Minnesota studio to talk about her latest book, The Unexpected Caregiver, a practical resource for anyone providing care to an aging parent. Read more »

Kari Berit on KARE 11’s Showcase Minnesota – Tune in Tuesday November 23, 2010 at 10 AM

November is National Family Caregiving Month and Kari Berit is spreading the word that America needs to discuss caregiving. More than 65 million people are caregivers in America. Read more »