Last night I was watching a PBS special on Motown music. They had Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, the Temptations and so many others. This music was popular when I was in high school and it brought back so many memories. I remembered dancing to them as a teenager. Some songs elicited some very specific memories.
This got me to thinking about how important music is to our residents. There was documentary called “Alive Inside” I viewed it several years ago about how music stimulates memories. The documentarian researches and finds music from a person’s childhood and has the residents listen and then discusses what memories the music invokes. It is truly astounding. The one resident at the very beginning of the documentary talks about how bad her memory is and that she can’t remember much. The documentarian puts on a set of headphones with a song from her childhood and the memories start flooding back and she is able to articulate and discuss specific events from so many years ago.
I remember one resident in particular early on in my career. Her name was Beulah and she had been a school administrator and was also a piano player. She suffered from dementia and may have not known what day of the week it was but if you sat her in front of a piano and said, “Can you play, “Stormy Weather?” She would say, “Can you hum a few bars?” You would sing a few lines and she would play it. She was amazing but yet she couldn’t remember what day it was.
There are also other studies about the power of music. One is a book with the same title by Elena Mannes. In it she explores how music affects different groups of people and how it can play an important role in health care.
We use music in a variety of ways at Argent Court. We play music throughout the building and we are cognizant of what types of music the residents enjoy. You can see by our calendar we also have a variety of groups that come in and provide musical entertainment. We believe in the power of music and we work hard to incorporate it into our daily activities.