This week we found a beautiful story about a family using the power of music to connect with their elderly mother/grandmother who lives in a memory care facility in Illinois. Beverly Patton, age 74, has been isolated from her family since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patton’s family, however, have a found a creative and inspiring way of being with her. They sit outside her window with a guitar and a piano and her grandson plays her favourite songs.
There is no doubt that music has an impact on all of us. For Patton, the staff at her home noticed a very positive reaction after each of her family visits: “She eats a bit more, uses her [stroke-impaired] hand more and she’s happier”.
These noticeable and very important effects of her musical and social connection demonstrate just how much music can do for us. When a Music Therapist Accredited enters a long term care home to work with our beautiful elderly population, they are trained to adapt their musical activities to meet the needs of each of their clients, whether it be to encourage eating or swallowing, to increase use of a particular limb, to promote cognitive awareness, or to provide reprieve from isolation.
And as you can see from this story, we must never doubt the connection that can be built between family members and the impact that it can have on those who are at risk of isolation. Patton’s grandson says: “Music is a universal language and music therapy relieves stress, […] I think coming during the pandemic, playing music and sharing stories has made us closer now than ever before. I get to connect with her.”