‘….good – that’s finished …. Awful music !’
Glad to say that wasn’t said in response to my show ! It was just before the show … When the carer turned off the cd of classical music playing in the lounge! Elderly people must like classical music .. Obviously a daft assumption – but easy trap to fall into !
I am very aware of this issue of ‘musical tastes’ when I put my pieces together … Or play music whilst setting up etc …. Something like ‘ Harry Seacombe ‘ seems reasonably universally acceptable .. Harry Seacombe
Makes you think more generally about individual tastes and assumptions doesn’t it ? Do these disappear in the maelstrom of dementia ? Not from what I have witnessed ! In some ways individual quirks can be highlighted when social niceties and norms are forgotten and inhibitions trampled down !
I like Will Young….. But my man really doesn’t … He likes Nora Jones…. She doesn’t really do it for me …. But we are almost the same age …. See… Obvious really isn’t it ! I like ‘Come Dine with me’ on TV for mindless background …. He likes …Tour de France ….. Er …..
Having said all this however I wonder if there are some songs that spread themselves across all tastes …. I certainly have ‘collective’ switch on songs that I keep discovering through trial and error ….. ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’ being the latest one I hit upon during a ‘high days and holidays’ reminiscence session last week …. What might it be for my generation I wonder ….. Donny Osmund’s Puppy Love ?!
On subject of music – just spotted this blog which I found thought provoking http://noustuff.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/songs-sound-less-sad-when-youre-older/
…. Mind you … Ever noticed how ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ gets pretty much all eyes watery !
Vive la difference!
Instant mood change!
This is inspiring and relevant to all those involved with caring for someone who has a dementia …. Read on !
I was doing my ‘majestic memories’ reminiscence show (www.trishalewis.com) in a care home this morning – a home I have regularly visited over the years …. And a show I have done ‘umpteen times over last few weeks in celebration of Diamond Jubilee ….. But something was wrong ….. A usually bright and engaged lady was sat expressionless and in stony silence….and I felt her mood …. But i had to carry on with upbeat show …. 2 songs in and some interesting triggers explored …. And still no change … No interaction …. My whole being was having to work hard to resist the drag of the powerful wave of this mood…. Was it anger …was it depression …. Was it sadness …. Disapproval ….? One thing i knew for certain was I wouldn’t humour her or force interaction ….. I carried on ….even a rendition of Gracie Fields ‘If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake ‘ didn’t reach this lady … Who normally loves singing ….. So …. Song number 4 … ‘on the street where you live ‘ …. Still no change ….. And then the switch … This is how it happened …
ME: I love that song …. It’s from that musical isn’t it … Um . What was it called ( i knew in reality ) …. Er …..
LADY: ….Bonnie Líes over The ocean’
ME: Oh – I love that song – how does it go … (i start to sing softly ) …
LADY: ( taking over) (sings 2 verses with gusto) !
( this wasn’t part of my 1953 reminiscence show …. But who cares …. All I cared about was the unlocking of this lady’s mood …. !)
It didn’t stop there ….. From that moment on – till I was packing up and saying goodbyes …. And I suspect beyond …. Her mood was completely transformed ! She sang, she reminisced …. She was interested … Engaged …. Smiling …. Dancing ( seated dancing ) to ‘Boomps a daisy’ … Laughing … Interacting with other residents ( who in turn were caught up in her joyous mood )!
The lesson …… Don’t give up …. One positive aspect of dementias is that moods can alter in a second … Finding the trigger might be a bit hit and miss …. And shouldn’t be forced …. But it will come …. And the satisfaction is immense !
One word was all it took … A word with a pause after …. A space for the trigger to be taken and expressed …. MY …. ( ok so it was ‘my fair lady ‘) …. My ….. ( an individual’s word association) …. My ….. ‘ Bonnie lies over the ocean ‘! Fabulous !!!
And then …… Go with the flow !