Thursday, April 1, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
I don’t know the particular chemical, emotional, and physiological reason for music being a real important part of the life of every human, and especially for one of us affected by dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Music has always been important in my family. When I tell my grandsons about my early years, they can not believe the fact that we did not have television; and any music or electronic entertainment was only found in the car or from a big box in our living room with a radio and a record player. One of the things that I am proud of in our family is the fact that my dad would get us all together after supper to get around the piano and sing. My mother played the piano and my dad, my two brothers, and I became a quartet. It was the same thing at church where my dad was the choir director and my family was 80% of the choir. I am telling you this to tell you how important music was to my mother.
Before we were forced to move my mother to an Alzheimer’s/Dementia facility, she had diminished from an independent woman that my mother always presented in the past to one that slept 20 hours out of every day. After entering the facility, she was introduced to an everyday senior sing along, music being played in her room 24 hours a day, and church services with many hymns and other music. At first, getting her to go to the senior sing along and church services was a challenge. The workers at the center were insistent, and the music started to work on her. When I came to see her and went with her to go to the sing along or to church, I was amazed the effect of music on her spirit. She would sit there and even if she would not be able to hold her eyes open, she would not only know the melody and hum along with the music, she would know and sing out loud the words to all the songs and every verse to every song. Before she died her whole spirit had changed dramatically. When she got to the facility, I repeat she slept 20 hours a day and the other 4 hours were spent asking me to kill her or yelling at me about what a terrible son I was to take her to such a place from her home. Before she died she attended almost all the community events, and never missed a sing along or church, joked with the folks that helped her get around and would sing, sing, sing. Now if you were a physician, then you would say that the Alzheimer/Dementia Center wrote or at least studied extensively the book on music therapy and dementia, but the only thing I know is that music was the key that revived my mom from next to death for two years of relatively good quality of life and a chance to be with her children and grandchildren. My mother died almost exactly two months before her 94th birthday. What a wonderful life she had.