Posts Tagged With: Residential Care

Rainbow switch

Somewhere over the rainbow is a truly magical song !

I mean this in more than just a ‘wow great song’ way …. I mean – TRULY MAGICAL !

There are many blogs which agree !

Earlier this week I was doing a reminiscence show based on the theme of days out and seaside trips …. At one point I put on a plastic mack and rain hat and clutch old fashioned thermos … And refer to the often inclement weather on British seaside holidays …. But how magical it is when the sun breaks through … And there is a beautiful rainbow ….. Cue song …..!

On the very first bar of the song – I had probably only sung the famous 2 octave apart notes – a lady who had been silently hunched with closed eyes …. sat upright and opened her eyes which sparkled and smiled … And remained alert and clearly ‘joyful’ throughout the song ! Magic !

Another previously sleepy lady started tapping her foot in time and another mirroring my hand movements – embracing the music !

This is not a one off – of all the hundreds of songs I sing or play in hundreds of settings with people with various levels and types of dementia – this is amongst the most ‘triggering’ switch ones!

I have thought about why – and of course it is connected to the minor key, the octave leap ( maybe registered by hard of hearing ) , the words …. But of course a lot of these ladies and gents were adolescents when ‘Wizard of Oz’ was released – technicolor and all ! So their brains were at a highly sensitive stage of development … Memory thrown down and embedded with a big plonk !

There have been some wet eyes and cheeks too …. But a) I think tears are a sign of being alive and b) I follow it up with ‘luvely bunch of coconuts’!


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My somewhat obsessive behaviour about feeling ‘right’ within a space …. seems to be getting even more obsessive as the years go by !  So I reckon that in x years time if I were to be in a care home setting I would be an utter nightmare for carers !!!  ‘Can’t sit here!  I want to sit there! She’ll have to move then !!!’

The other day I was half way through a reminiscence show when a lovely lady ( who was enjoying the show) started asking for something – quietly….  I went close to her and heard her more clearly – she wanted to move position in the room – gesturing towards a spot where another lady was sat ! She was in a wheelchair so I said I was not good at wheelchairs but when the carer came back in she could try to move…..( I carried on singing and defused the situation for a while!)  The lady was happy – but she asked again after the end of the show….  so I found a carer and mentioned the request…..  she immediately came and found a solution with a little bit of chair moving!  Not all carers to be honest might have responded so promptly – and I do understand – after all it would be tricky to respond to absolutely every individual request all the time……….  but I must say this is one request I was VERY sensitive to !  I know how agitated I feel ( without dementia) when I am not sitting where I feel comfortable!

I get wierd if I have my back to the room in a cafe….  or sat too close to where the loos are….. or sat with back to view…. or….. well – I am picky !!  But I CAN express my requirements and nearly always be where I want to be!  Sounds can annoy me too – too much noise, too little noise, wrong kind of noise…  TV on at volume that is barely audible ( rather have it louder or OFF!)   This list is quite long – all these little personal quirks of likes and dislikes !  And actually I am quite an easy going person !

So some of that agitated behaviour seen in a person with a dementia might be nothing more than – sat in the wrong place?  Too warm…. too cold ( I hate sitting under the air conditioning vent in coffee shops!)…. chair too high, too low….  too many cushions…. not enough… !!!  I know compromises have to be made – but maybe sometimes a simple adjustment could make a world of difference?  Just a thought !

Ah ……  the other side of this could be simply – ‘that’s MY place!’ – It’s where I feel at home, secure and safe?

When it comes to personal obsessions about environmental needs – my biggest one is – getting outside and close to nature – tress, birdsong etc…..  this is an interesting post on that very subject :-

Back to nature – a bit of "natural" Twitter brings huge benefits….

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