Music makes us remember. A song can take us back to the first time we heard it – who we were with, how it made us feel, and all the dreams we had in that time in our life. What a sad world it would be without the joy of music.
The pure enjoyment of music should be appreciated at every age. It’s especially important to include music in the lives of elders. Now elder care experts are finding that music can alleviate depression, sharpen cognitive skills, and create an atmosphere where seniors socialize in a more positive way. After all, each of our generations have songs that defined when we grew up and came of age.
Even people with dementia can remember all the words to songs they loved when they were young. That builds their self-confidence, when they need it the most.
Who doesn’t remember getting In the car, turning on the radio, and singing at the top of our lungs with our friends? Love songs, war songs, country-western songs, ballads and show tunes – they all can take us away to another time and place.
My parents always loved country tunes. I grew up listening to Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, and Marty Robbins. Sometimes there are singers and songs that transcend even the generations. When I found "The Gunfighter Ballads" by Marty Robbins on tape, I started playing it while driving in the car with my children. Pretty soon, they were singing right along with me. To this day, those cowboy songs are some of their favorites – and they now have children of their own!
Another cherished memory of mine is of singing with my parents at church. There are so many hymns that still touch my heart. They make me remember when I was just a little girl, sitting between my parents during worship services. When my own children came along, we would ride to church with my parents. We spent this time singing hymns. Songs we sang included "I’ll Fly Away," "Amazing Grace," and even "Rock of Ages." It made us all memories that we will never forget.
Love songs can span the decades and strengthen the bonds we have with our beloved. What love song meant the most to you and your spouse? Do you know you parents’ favorite love song?
Sometimes we all get so busy that we forget to include music into our lives. That should just not be. Music is good for the soul, good for our moods, and enriches our lives. Why not get your older loved one in the habit of including good music into their day?
Here's some good questions to find out what music your elderly loved ones love to hear:
1. What songs did you sing in the car when you were young?
2. What was your mother’s favorite tune?
3. Did you sing to me when I was a baby?
4. What lullabies did you sing to me?
5. What’s your favorite hymn?
6. What’s your favorite Christmas Carroll?
7. Who was your favorite singer?
8. Did your mom and dad have a special song?
9. What songs made you cry?
10. Which ones always make you happy?
11. Did you ever sing in the school or church choir?
12. What is your favorite type of song to dance to?
13. What campfire songs did you learn when you were young?
14. What songs did you have played at your wedding reception?
15. What songs would you enjoy listening to now?
It would be great if can purchase a CD that they will enjoy while you take them in the car. Who knows, you just might see a side of them you've never knew before!
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About The Author: Karen Everett Watson is a Gerontologist and has over 10 years experience as a Journalist. Karen has spent 4 years in the senior community interviewing retirement community residents.
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