NBC paved yet another yellow brick road to ruby-red-hot ratings with their latest live musical event this month, The Wiz LIVE!
The Wizard of Oz holds a special place in our cultural consciousness, with the 1939 MGM version standing out as perhaps the most-watched movie in the whole history of cinema. Nearly every American has seen it, and for decades now, scholars have pondered how that original novel and its two most famous adaptations (the 1939 film and Broadway’s The Wiz) have molded our collective notion of home.
Indeed, the banner song in The Wiz is a beautiful ballad entitled “Home,” in which Dorothy wrestles what it really means to “go home.” (By all accounts, actress Shanice Williams knocked it out of the park on NBC.)
Incidentally, I recently ran across a U.S. News & World Report piece that grapples with that very same question for dementia patients. What does “home” mean for someone who might struggle to remember where that is?
“Caregivers are initially caught off guard when people in the middle to late-middle stage of dementia plead, ‘I want to go home!’” the article explains. Often, the home they’re referencing is the one they knew long ago in their childhood, as those earliest memories tend to last the longest.
Of course, childhood homes are often inaccessible for the elderly, so World Report offers these tips for helping dementia patients feel “at home” in a place they don’t recognize:
- Talk to them about the “home” they remember. Describe it to them. Show pictures if you have them. Recount stories they might have shared with you about the place they grew up in.
- Have a conversation. Some patients hang on to more communication skills and/or stronger memories than others, but a few simple questions about their past — or about whichever “home” they’re referring to — can help them to feel centered and engaged.
- Offer to take them home. Simply going on a journey can be encouraging to them. You may or may not actually make it there. For that matter, that “home” may not even exist anymore! But just like the rest of us, for dementia patients, the journey can mean more than the destination.
Truly, there’s no place like home, and that’s a notion that can stick with us long after memories fade.