Memory loss, be it dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, can strike anyone. Over the past six years, John Demand has played piano for numerous memory care and senior residences. He has performed for doctors, lawyers, business executives, teachers and even a supreme court justice and NASA scientist, all suffering from memory loss. You may have heard John perform at Sun Lakes special events or at the Palo Verde restaurant. He is a Sun Lakes resident.
Prior to becoming a professional pianist, John was a police officer, corporate security professional and law enforcement trainer. After completing a counter terrorism training mission in Israel, John developed training programs for police officers to improve their observation skills. One of his programs dealt with facial recognition. He found police officers did not have skills in recognizing faces any better than lay people. Those who had superior skills were artists. His challenge became to train others to see through the eyes of an artist.
Wondering if there might be something he could do to possibly help seniors avoid or slow down memory loss, he thought his facial recognition program might be the answer. One of the cornerstones he learned from a forensic artist (a person who can draw a face from a verbal description) is teaching facial shapes. For police officers, he followed teaching facial shapes by tracing the faces of missing persons and wanted suspects. The program was extremely successful, and officers increased their recognition skills significantly.
For seniors, John re-engineered his program that he named “My Traces of Love.” This program begins by training recognition of facial shapes. The course is then followed by learning to trace and shade faces of celebrities. The next lessons move to tracing family members or friends. Hence, “Traces of Love.” He continually hears: “I can’t draw” from most people before taking the course. However, this course is designed for people with little or no drawing ability.
One of the best things, according to recent studies, to prevent memory loss is challenging the brain with learning new skills. “Traces of Love” is just such a skill and is being offered in the Cottonwood clubhouse beginning in February. There are four one-hour sessions. The cost of the entire course is $60.00 which includes all supplies. Class size is limited in order to give every participant individual attention. Sign up now, as registration is first-come, first-served.
Exercising your brain to help prevent memory loss is one of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make. The cost and time spent is minuscule compared to the heartache and crushing financial burdens of memory loss.
The first four classes are on Wednesdays, March 6, 13, 20 and 27.