Saturday was a day of eating for me. My church had its Thanksgiving meal in the evening and before that I was at an educational lunch for my ladies group. Yum!
The educational session was a warm reminder that I am in the right field of work. The speaker was a music therapist explaining how she uses music to achieve various goals for her clients. Her clients are all ages and mine are all seniors, but we both use music to achieve goals for our clients. Mine, as a recreation worker, is to fill my seniors time with pastimes that give the end of their lives joy and meaning. So we have music in many of our activities: exercise class, church, parties, and special events.
I can carry a tune so I often use music as a tool when interacting with my seniors who no longer speak. Do you know what one of my greatest joys is? When someone, who no longer speaks, is able to sing a few bars of a song. I once saw a documentary that explained that music stimulates all parts of the brain but the part that connects music and emotions is the last to be destroyed by Alzheimers and other dementias. These two facts help explain why some people can sing when they no longer can speak. I also like the fact that the emotional connection to music is the last thing that goes. That means even when my folks can no longer sing along with me or respond, I am still reaching them.
In the spirit of the season of thankfulness, I must say I am thankful for my job and my ability to carry a tune so I can touch people’s lives. It doesn’t hurt that many of the tunes my folks remember were sing-along songs that have survived since Victorian times. I get to indulge in my Victorian obsession on a daily basis! Perk!