The front room at Choices in Senior Care was decorated and ready to go! Café tables were set up with turquoise tablecloths and white doilies, flower vases, and pictures of “Old Blue Eyes”, Glen Miller, and Perry Como. A fruit plate, homemade scones, and popcorn were the refreshments of the day. And, a Big Band CD was ready to play.
Around 1:15 PM, folks started to come by….and by 1:30 PM on Thursday, March 24th, our first Back in the Day Music and Memory Café was launched! Participants socialized and listened to Big Band music from Alzheimer’s Music Connect. Their CDs are enhanced by a patent-pending process called Altus Oscillation to promote relaxation (read more about the music enhancements here). Café participants also shared some stories and fond memories after listening to the tunes. We finished up with a grand Sing-Along of favorite songs. It turned out to be a wonderful time!
For those with a dementia diagnosis, listening to music enjoyed during the person’s late teens and twenties may increase a sense of well-being and evoke fond memories that are not easily accessible through conversation. There has been a lot of research and media about the positive use of music with dementia.
Consider setting up a routine of music listening at home. As mentioned, choose music your person enjoyed between the ages of 18-25 years old. Be aware of the mood set by the music and choose accordingly. Pair music with the time of day or activity, depending on the level of energy expected as a result of listening. Set up a regular routine or daily listening time, prior to any troublesome behaviors which may have been noted to occur. Make sure that the music volume is appropriate, without external distractions or competing noises. Listen in a familiar and comfortable setting. Move, clap, sing along, and “connect” together with the music you have chosen. Or, make use of a music listening routine to help keep your person contented and involved while offering some respite time for you, the caregiver.
Back in the Day Music and Memory Café will take place the 4th Thursday of each month at 1:30 PM.
We look forward to our next Café, where we will feature a Sing-Along of Vocal Standards from Back in the Day such as Blue Moon, Tennessee Waltz, Don’t Fence Me In, and Some Enchanted Evening. Our decoration theme is the ‘season of the dogwoods’. We will provide scrumptious refreshments and will have a game or two of Music Bingo for your listening pleasure!
Come join us at Back in the Day Music and Memory Café on April 28th at Choices in Senior Care, starting at 1:30 PM! RSVP suggested to 865-978-6168.
Other programs offered by Choices in Senior Care are listed on our events page.
Order your own enhanced music albums from Alzheimer's Music Connect.
For other useful information and resources for caregivers of people with dementia, check out Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Brain Change™ .
Written by Elaine Wilson, LCSW