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Lilacs & Greensleeves: Music…Mind, Body & Spirit

Music…I think it touches the soul, from the very young to the very old!
There is a lot to be said for how music moves people in many different ways.
Music therapists seem to be doing just that. Bringing music into the lives of men, women and children alike and the results are amazing!
I know from my own experience as a caregiver for my Mom and Dad, how important music was in their lives and what it did to help them in their later years.
For example, one day my Mom, who had Post Infarct Dementia, was trying to walk to her chair and found that she couldn’t make her legs move as well as she did. She stopped and looked at me as if to say, “Now what do I do?”
Walking beside her during this time, I moved around in front of her and drew her close as if I was giving her a hug. My intent was to try and help her move towards me. While softly trying to reassure her, I had a thought. Sing, Deb, sing!
So I started to sing, ‘Tea for Two’ and all of the sudden Mom started to sway to the music. As I continued to sing, she stepped forward towards me and I went right along with her, letting her lead.
She was moving with the music! Was she finding the connection with her legs through the song? I kept singing and she kept smiling and ‘dancing’ and slowly but surely we were making progress towards her chair.
When she sat down, she looked up at me with the biggest smile on her face. I was just as amazed as she was! I knew how music had touched my soul since I was a little girl and here I was, experiencing something so special that would lead me to pass on the ‘lesson’ to others!
And not only did this seem to heighten her joy at the moment but it appeared to sustain Mom for the rest of the day. It was a joy to behold in seeing how music had touched her in this way!
The mind, the body and the spirit!
My Dad in his final days at home on Hospice, asked me on many occasions to play several of his favorite CDs! He loved music and while he didn’t have dementia, I could see his response and how this beautiful ‘gift’ of song touched him deeply, giving him such a sense of peace.
While watching this video below, I see how the residents in this nursing home were responding to simple IPods that were loaded with their favorite songs. How wonderful!
I’ve attended concerts with seniors and have seen first hand what just an hour or two of music does for them!
Working for Care4You has allowed me to understand our clients in their love for music. It’s as individual as they are.
Some love the good old Gospel songs, the beautiful hymns that have been alive for years with wonderful stories behind each and every one of them.
Then there are some who enjoy the richness of the songs of the 40s. One of my favorite times, by the way! I used to say that I was born in the wrong era. That I should have come into this world 30 years earlier! But then I realized that my love for the songs of yesteryear, serves not only to keep this music alive for generations to come but it helps me in my work with my clients.
As long as we are on this earth, I think that music will play a really big part in our lives, way into our golden years!
I’ve seen the response from our wonderful seniors when music is introduced into their day. I once had a client who used to walk with me around the neighborhood. We would start singing as soon as we reached the sidewalk. I don’t know who was happier, although I think we both were equally!
As we would walk and sing, occasionally I would do a little ‘2-step’ which would make both of us bust out laughing.
Ahhhh…laughter! Reputed to be ‘good medicine.’
I think so!
She loved the music of the 50s and the 60s and as a tribute to her, with family gathered around her bed in her final days on this earth, they played the guitar as they sang her, ‘Home!’
Yes…music touches us all in one way or another. From the very young to the precious old, we carry it forward to bless the minds, the bodies and the spirits of those who have walked before us and are still here and those who will follow.

Written by

Deb is our own Deborah McSherry, experienced nurse and caregiver extraordinaire. Deb has been with Care4You since 2009.