Meet my Grandma Clara, She is 87 years old, loves sports (especially UNLV Running Rebels Basketball) and her favorite singer is Hank Williams. She has led an adventurous and active life moving to Las Vegas in the 1960’s to work as a hotel maid at the famed Hilton and later at the Tropicana as an Inspectress. She cherished driving and despite the fact that she no longer has a license she often dreams of her days behind the wheel. My Grandma is also in the early stages of dementia and my parents and I see little pieces of her leave us while others seem brighter than ever. For example, during the Christmas holiday she recounted to me a vivid story of her dancing with her nephew, Benny at my Cousin Charlene’s wedding, more than twenty years ago. She told me about the dress she wore and the way she moved across the dance floor in her turquoise dress and how happy she felt. Here is the thing about dementia– it is illusive and impossible to pin down. My Grandma might not remember if she took her morning pills, but she remembers the way the music made her feel when she used to go dancing at The Lariette Club with her sister, Lorraine, when they first moved to Las Vegas. When I play Hank Williams on Pandora while we ride in the car she knows every word. See, illusive.
It is because I love my Grandma so much, and care about the future of long-term care, that I am committed to the message of Alive Inside. Alive Inside is an award winning documentary that tells the story of the Music and Memory program and how personal music devices, if used correctly, can bring those experiencing dementia immense joy and connection to the world around them. If you haven’t seen a clip go here now. No, really, I will wait.
Can you see the joy on Henry’s face? Can you see the expressions of others around him? By simply connecting someone experiencing dementia with music, that is important to them, they are able to reconnect with the world around them and experience joy and love.
That is why OSSMC is such a big supporter of the Music and Memory program, and has helped to implement it in seven facilities in San Mateo County, and is hosting a FREE screening on Thursday, January 29th at 1 pm at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center. We believe that the simple act of providing personalized music to someone experiencing dementia can drastically improve their quality of life and radically alter the long-term care system. It is my sincere hope that I will see you at the screening. I believe that this is the next step in dementia care and we can create a revolution with music.
To RSVP email me at firstname.lastname@example.org