Some things the retirement communities do right. The keyboard musician that visits regularly is playing Christmas songs today. I hang around with my Mom and we sing along to the songs and I watch the joy that his music brings so the many residents grouped in the living room today. I can’t resist singing along, even though the general idea of keyboard music doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.
A few weeks ago, an old friend of my Moms came and sat with her when the musician was visiting. It’s a nice way to pass the time with my Mom. She loves music and isn’t challenged to try to make small talk.
Each time I visit, I notice one of the other residents. She is always alone, well-dressed, and smiling. I’ve never seen her speak with anyone, but she gets up and dances when music is playing. As I sit and witness the many ladies that work at the community having fun dancing and inviting the residents to join them, this one is already busy dancing around to the music without a care in the world about who is watching. I’m a little jealous because I still feel a little self-conscious dancing.
As we head into the holiday, I do hope Santa will sprinkle some magic dust on me to give me the courage to age as gracefully as this woman is doing. Wished.
3 thoughts on “Please Santa, let me be the smiling lady that gets up and dances”
Lovely post. There is letter to the Editor in today’s NY Times which paints elderly facilities like something out of Dickens, it is a sad stereotype and I applaud you for offering a taste of the joy I found during my mom’s last years. The staff, nurses and volunteers worked hard to create the kind of environment you describe. Thank you for sharing it here, and the woman who dances too! Cheers, Hallie
My dad loved going to Musical Minds which was a regular sing along orgnaised by Alzheimer Scotland for anyone with memory loss. The words for every somg were printed in a big typeface but some of the people there rarely needed the words. As soon as the band started playing they were singing along. And there was a lady who came along with some other residents from her care home who got up and danced around the room, occasionally pausing to ‘conduct’ the musicians. Like you, I wished I wasn’t so self-conscious as I’d have loved to get up and join her. Instead, I contented myself singing along with my dad. Music is absolutely vital for people with dementia – actually it probably is for everyone.
Music is a temporary panacea for those suffering from Alzheimer’s or other dementia. The documentary “Alive Inside” proved that one hundred-fold. When I worked in long-term care, the facility in which I worked also had a weekly musician that played for the residents. Each and every time, I danced with this one female resident whose face lit up with the effort. It was a glorious site to behold. I too hope and pray that if I’m ever living in long-term care, that I’m the resident who boogies her heart out.