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The Miracle of Music

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By Larry W. Hayes

A few weeks ago, I visited my Aunt Fern, 91, in a nursing home in Newton, KS. She’s like my “second mother” and very dear to me.

Her daughter Robin warned me that Fern had declined a lot since I last visited—about 18 months ago.

So I expected the worst but it was still shocking and  sad to see her lying down on a sofa chair propped up in front of a large TV–unable to move or lift her head.

She did recognize me and did her best to engage  in a conversation, although she struggled. Like millions of older Americans, she suffers from dementia and declining health.

Most of her wakening hours are spent in front of a
TV that she neither watches or listens to. It is just on. I didn’t see a radio or hear any music at the nursing home.

What could I do to put a smile on her face?

Recently my wife and I saw an inspiring, moving documentary, “Alive Inside” which shows how music brings happiness and joy to loved ones with dementia.

Upon my return to California, I immediately ordered an iPod for my aunt Fern.  Robin downloaded Fern’s favorite songs and played them for her.

“She smiles and enjoys the music,” says Robin.
“What seemed more interesting to her is the technology. That such a little device could hold so many songs!”  Fern was always a smart lady!

Amazing what music and technology can do to help those you love. Even help bring out a smile! To learn  more about the miracle of music for dementia patients, go to:

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