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  1. Lauryn says

    I had the amazing experience of playing at a retirement home not too long ago with some friends. We took turns playing and while I was sitting out I watched a woman in a wheelchair who had been basically non-responsive. As my friends started playing an old jazz standard, I watched her slowly perk up. She started keeping perfect time with her hands and feet, her whole body moving with the music, and tears falling from her closed eyes. She moved her hands as if she were the one playing the piano and it was incredible to watch. I later learned that she had been a pianist pretty much her whole life. It had a profound impact on me, as did the video you posted. Music is truly transformative and I am incredibly grateful for it.

    • hannah says

      Music therapy seems like a given to me. When one considers the impact music has on your spirit when you’re young, healthy and fine – it would follow then, that the same applies in our ‘declining’ years. And even more so, because by the time you’ve reached 60/70/80 you’ve seen many losses in your day. Music from the time of our own ‘coming of age’ will have that impact – it takes you back to a better, simpler, more innocent time in your life. While because of my retro bent these days, I’m gravitating to my parents music, you can bet your bippy (Laugh-In reference there) when nostalgic for my own youth, I put on Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan….

      While my immediate family has all passed, I do count myself lucky in that none of them had to be put in a care facility or were afflicted with an ailment that made them despondent. The first thing I’d have done for my Dad would be to have plunked some model trains in front of him and put on some Benny Goodman. 🙂

      Pam, this was a truly heartwarming video. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Elaine says

    I love this. So many times our elders seem lost. What a joy to be able to reach them and give them some energy and happiness.

  3. Andi says

    Thank you so much for posting that, Pam. My mom spent the last 4 years of her life in a nursing home, and I was very often there. There was a “music therapist” and also a guitar-playing chaplain, and I saw scenes like the magic on that video whenever music was played. One woman with Alzheimer’s didn’t know anyone in her family anymore, did not speak, but she could still play the piano beautifully. My mom would totter to her feet and dance when music from the 1940s was on.
    This little video really made me cry, but in a good way.

  4. Holley Martinez says

    WoW! Working with and for Senior Adults is definitely a privilege. As a “Boomer,” our “forever young” obsessed society is frightening to me. We need to develop a new commitment not only to care for older persons but to learn from them. Instead of being a victim of a youthful and beauty obsessed environment, stand firm in the knowledge that arriving at an older age is to be considered a privilege – not simply because not everyone has the good fortune to reach this stage in life, but also, and above all, because this period provides real possibilities for better evaluating the past, for knowing and living more deply our spiritual beliefs, and to become an example for our fellow human beings. Thank you for posting this awesome video.

  5. says

    I heard a bit of this in a related story on NPR All Things Considered yesterday while driving home from work, with a follow up letter in today’s broadcast. This idea and its application is beautiful and very moving. “Henry is restored to himself…”

    Joy through remembering music from your life via a matchbook sized stereo – the best of both vintage and modernity, don’t you think?

  6. says

    I wish I had known about this when my grandmother was in a nursing home. Of course, we didn’t have iPods which makes it so easy to bring people’s memories to them. Thank you for sharing Pam.

  7. james stine says

    I so wish I had known this when my own father was alive and not communicating. What a wonderful discovery!

  8. nina462 says

    So true! They just had something on Fox news today about music therapy as well. I volunteer once & awhile at a senior day care, and we always have music on -big band, swing etc. We also listen to old time radio programs via the internet (several websites are available for free). It brings back their youth –

    Then I wonder what type of music I’ll listen to bring back my youth, one day (Queen, Kiss, Cheap Trick?) Good thing I started to learn to love the standards later.

    Thanks again for this link, Pam. Truly heartwarming.

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