Category Archives: Dementia

I’d do anything for you, dear

I’ve blogged here and here about a listener I called Walt. But I haven’t yet told you the most amazing thing about him. It’s not that he started taking singing lessons around age 90, and then gave monthly performances at … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Dementia, Volunteering | 4 Comments

Memories light the corners of my mind

Remember Henry? In December 2013, I wrote a post about playing the piano for people with dementia, and how music awakens them. In that post, I mentioned the documentary Alive Inside and included the clip featuring Henry. Here’s how he … Continue reading

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Something to remember you by

My Uncle Brian continues to slip away, his brain addled by advancing dementia. You might recall the post I wrote in February about my uncle and his robotic puppy. Brian now lives in a small group home. He likes helping … Continue reading

Posted in Dementia, Piano performance, Reminiscences | Tagged | 10 Comments

And they called it puppy love

My uncle Brian lived quietly after his retirement. He read, he took walks, watched television, spent time with family. A couple of years ago, Brian started having trouble following conversations. A hearing aid seemed to help. But when he couldn’t … Continue reading

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Things you say and do just thrill me through and through

“You’re pretty good on that piano, young lady.” Wayne was in his usual spot at a table near the front, wearing his usual outfit of plaid shirt, jeans, and a baseball cap. He’s a talkative 91-year-old World War II veteran … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Dancing, Dementia, Music and emotion, Volunteering | 3 Comments

I know we’ll meet again some sunny day

I don’t read novels very often—I prefer biographies and memoirs—but I recently enjoyed Elizabeth Is Missing, a mystery by Emma Healey. The main character, an elderly London woman named Maud, narrates her own story. She fears that something terrible has … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Dementia, Music and emotion, Music history, Singers | Tagged | 2 Comments

You make me happy when skies are grey

I’d always thought of “You Are My Sunshine” as a children’s song. But then Dara started asking me to play it. She was a sparkly-eyed cutie with a head of soft, white curls, who brightened everyone’s day despite her advanced … Continue reading

Posted in Dementia, Music history, Song requests, Volunteering | Tagged | 3 Comments

Feels like home

For a couple of years, I played at noon every Wednesday in a memory-care home. The residents shuffled down the hall to the dining room for lunch. When they got within earshot of the piano, I’d often hear, “Oh, it’s … Continue reading

Posted in Dementia, Music and emotion | 2 Comments

Listen, listen, there’s a lot you’re liable to be missin’

It happened again. Gwen had just gotten settled for lunch, and turned her attention to the background music I was playing. She gave me an appreciative little round of applause at the end of “Till We Meet Again.” I knew … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Dementia, Piano performance, Volunteering | Tagged | 4 Comments

Inoculated with a syncopated sort of meter

The jitterbug champ. That was Leo. Even his obituary noted it, in a long list of ways he endeared himself to family and friends, colleagues and caregivers. Alzheimer’s disease didn’t seem to slow him down much. As long as I … Continue reading

Posted in Dancing, Dementia, Music history, Piano performance, Volunteering | Tagged , | 2 Comments