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Music with Alzheimer’s Patients is amazingly powerful

April 18th, 2009 · No Comments · Music with Alzheimer's patients

Recently, I have been working with a gentleman in this 80’s who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  He is a retired minister and was and is much beloved in our community.  Each week I go to his home and he sits on the couch, facing the piano, with his wife on one side and an adult daughter on the other.  With a lightweight drum in his lap and a stack of hymnals and songbooks on the piano, we begin singing his favorite, familiar songs.  

Sometimes when I arrive he’s sleepy or just confused and a little grumpy.  Nevertheless, by the time I leave he is invariably sitting upright on the coach, smiling, beating the drum in perfect rhythm and singing most of the words to most of the songs!  What do we sing?  Well, these were some of yesterdays highlights:  “Stouthearted Men, Marine’s Hymn, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, She’ll be comin’ Around the Mountain, Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Onward Christian Soldiers, and many more.  One of the things I look for is familiar songs that have an upbeat tempo and and a steady, pulsating rhythm.

If you know someone with Alzheimer’s, please consider using music as a therapeutic intervention with them!  And remember that I do have a CD with music for memory care and Alzheimer’s patients in particular.  Click on the link to my website to purchase the CD or a download of it!

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