For about half-an-hour every day, when she sits down to play her piano, Joan* feels like she can cope with anything.
Her back straightens with pride as she strikes the chords of Michael Glinka’s Russian Polka. Light pours in from the window of the home where she has lived alone since her husband passed away. All around her are paintings, framed photos of her grandchildren, and symbols of her Christian faith.
Joan says the bold 19th-century melody evokes images of marching soldiers. The 70-year-old retired social worker admits it isn’t music she would have played in the past, but she finds herself drawn to the piece since being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease four years ago.
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