On more than one occasion, an overheard song has caused waves of emotion to overcome me. Which make sense, music is an integral part of our lives from the moment we’re born. We associate certain songs with yearly holidays or times in our lives. Playing music for elderly loved ones can help them remember fond memories, calm them when they are upset, and so much more.
Last night I brought Grandma H a cheeseburger and a vanilla shake. You would have thought it was steak and lobster with a fine wine by the way she thanked me. We sat and ate our dinners while catching up and occasionally glancing at the TV show she had on in the background. I kept bursting into Christmas songs anytime a commercial came on. This sparked an old memory for her, and she shared it with me. Sometime in the 1960s my grandfather was serving overseas in Vietnam. It was around the holidays and my Aunt Connie’s school had a choir concert. They sang “The Ballad of the Green Berets”, a popular song at the time. Grandma said it was such a special memory.
So, I of course hopped on my phone, pulled up YouTube, and found an old 1960s performance of the song. We listened together and I watched as she silently sang along, her arms covered in goosebumps and tears welling in her eyes. She couldn’t believe it had been so easy for me to find that song for her. She said she remembered that concert and those hard times like they were yesterday and thanked me over and over for playing that song for her.
When my other Grandma was nearing the end of her life and was getting upset over her lack of ability to communicate, I pulled up videos of her favorite old pastor, Robert Schuller. I put my earbuds in her ears, and her whole face got peaceful and she clasped her hands together and just listened. Afterward she held my hands and I could tell by her look she was saying thank you. That familiar voice and old songs calmed her.
“We listened together and I watched as she silently sang along, her arms covered in goosebumps and tears welling in her eyes.”
Play music for the older people in your life. Find out what they listened to growing up, dance if they’re able, or ask about their memories associated. Play calming music later in the day to encourage rest. Play older festive music during the holidays instead of current songs. If they’re hard of hearing, try using headphones or earbuds to drown out background noise. You will be amazed at the looks on their faces and the stories that come about. Sometimes music is the best therapy.
At LTC Consumer we believe it’s important to cherish the past, but plan for the future. Request a free quote for Long-Term Care Insurance today and speak with an LTC specialist to create your long-term care plan.