Sunday, July 12, 2020

Music is the Universal Language

Susie Q. Is our go-to karaoke, Sing- along -background music, go-to lady. This collection of songs on this video is the one that is mostly used by us in the Memory Care Unit at work. Whether we are doing an art class, exercise, ballon ROM, or as mentioned a good old sing-along. As I have mentioned in past posts Music is amazing for all of us, but more so for people affected by Alzheimer's or Dementia. I wanted to share this link with you, it will also be your go-to lifesaver. No, we don't only use her for music therapy, right now that we don't have our in-person music therapist because of COVID19, Susie has become our very own Music Therapist.

We also play a lot of movie songs, the Packrat is, of course, a favorite of all, we have a large selection of choices that are part of our program. We also have an activity called "jam sessions", which includes drums, shakers, tambourines accompanied by a lot of enthusiasm and lots of laughs. This may sound corny, but Music speaks to the heart, wakes up emotions, and it has the ability to turn a frown upside down.
If you are stuck at home, which I'm sure you are. Find this jewel and play it, include it in your daily routine, are you doing gardening, an art project, maybe your loved one is just folding clothes. Adding music to any of these activities makes it more enjoyable for our Alzheimer's or Dementia loved ones. It gives them a sense of peace, they can connect better, it helps to complete or engage in the activity at hand. A lot of our patients loved hymns, it brings them a unique sense of peace. I remember this lady that used to attend our day program, one of the things that would calm her anxiety was just that hymns.
Think about it, what is the general feeling when you attend church services, you are at peace, it's the meditation of the soul,  it's connecting with God for many people it gives them a sense of belonging. My favorite hymn? I have a few, Amazing Grace, Swing Low Sweet Chariot is my very favorite, I have asked my daughter to please play this song for me when I'm older. and make it part of my day of the dead celebration. 

Changing gears here, just make sure that when you are serving a meal the music is off or your playlist for mealtime should include calming sounds, maybe smooth jazz, classical piano, you get the idea. Always turn the television off at mealtime. Part of our routine in the Day program was at 2:30 p.m. every day we would have zen, quiet, meditation time. After a full day of activities, we needed to re-set in order to prevent any mega meltdowns or high anxiety behaviors. We would all sit down, I would proceed to put some lavender oil on the palms of their hands, ask them to rub their hands together, and breathe in the scent. Followed by guided deep breathing exercises, the lights would be turned off and zen music would be playing in the background. The environment was so relaxing that some of them would actually take a cat nap. Taking the time to do this, would promote an event-free afternoon, no meltdowns, no sundowning, it would make for a smooth transition to the next activity. What I'm trying to communicate to you is that music can be utilized for many situations, depending on the outcome that you want to have. always be mindful of your selection.

We are on this bumpy road together, you are not alone!
Be Prepared, Be Informed, Be Empowered.
I send you lots of virtual good vibes.