From a young age, Sarah loved music. She had a beautiful voice and loved to sit at the piano and entertain guests at her frequent dinner parties. Everyone begged her to sing, and she put a lot of emotion into her talent to deliver a beautiful performance. She had performed many gigs on local stages and even had the opportunity to join the city symphony for performances that fit her talents. Spending a lifetime singing and sharing her talent with others was a very important part of her life.
When difficulty remembering details in her daily life, including difficulty forming complete sentences, first started, she noticed it. She also noticed that the lyrics to her songs just flowed out without hesitation. She spoke to her doctor about her concerns and the doctor ordered some tests and a referral for a specialist to discuss the cognitive concerns. They also tested for a UTI as that can be a common source of cognitive issues but was not the case in this situation.
After her medical visits, she received the difficult news that she was having mild cognitive impairment and it would continue to progress. The news that this would not reverse was very difficult for her and she became depressed and withdrawn. When her daughter, Becky, came for a visit, she was shocked to find her mom’s home in disrepair and her mom struggling with depression along with the memory issues.
Becky was feeling desperate as this was not the mother she knew. She searched online for someone who could help her figure out options to improve the situation and she found us. As private care managers, we focus on helping aging persons and their family to work through the struggles and challenges of memory and cognitive diagnoses. The first thing we did was visit Sarah in her home. She was hesitant to visit with us but when I saw the baby grand piano with sheet music out on it, I knew that she used this piano. I asked her if she would play something for me. She was unsure but she slowly walked to the bench and sat down. With her eyes closed, she began playing. She was so talented. When she then opened her mouth and sang the most beautiful tune, I sat quietly and joined her in the solitude of the moment. After she finished, she sat quiet for a minute and looked over at me. I told her it was beautiful. She smiled. We connected.
Working together, we found some therapeutic options that would support her memory loss. I stopped by weekly and invited her to play for me. Music is a very good way to help someone coping with memory loss and I knew it was beneficial to help her continue to play. Becky knew that her mom needed some help in the home, and we worked to find a good home care option with aides that would come in daily to help Sarah with care needs. We asked that the aides suggest to Sarah that she sit at the piano once a day and this really helped her depression lift.
Even when she was in the depths of memory loss, she still never forgot how to play the piano and the lyrics to her favorite songs. It did become more difficult for her to sit at the piano to play and that eventually became something she couldn’t do but we had made it a point to record her playing so that we could play it back for her on headphones or over the house speakers. She always smiled when she heard the music.
It is so important to help aging loved ones continue the things that bring joy to their lives. When it is music, it doubles as therapeutic. Whatever they can do that brings them joy or helps them remember their life dreams is important. If you are looking for a way to help your aging loved one remember a dream or pursue an interest, please reach out to us by phone at 850-894-6720 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you find a way.
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