We’ve played music for lots of retirement communities, rehab centers, senior centers, and for folks dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia since 2011, many of whom have become good friends.
While their families and caretakers see them every day, our less frequent visits give us a more distinct view of their gradual decline. The time between visits makes it easier for us to spot the changes in these vibrant men and women who go from just getting “confused” occasionally and “needing a little help” – to gradually forgetting loved-ones’ names (and their own) – until one day they’re still there, but “gone.”
Even when they no longer remember us, we just smile, roll with the conversation, no matter what they say, and do our best to dwell on the good things.
Like the time a kind aide soothed and distracted a fearful widow before a show. She was waiting for her late husband to park the car, and was worried because he was taking a long time. She soon got so absorbed in the music, that she was the most energetic person in the entire audience.
Then there was the angel nurse who came to us in tears, thanking us for our music because a man who hadn’t spoken in two years had just sung along with every word of “You Are My Sunshine.”
Then came “Bill,” [not his real name] who thought he was backstage at a swanky theatre talking to the musicians. He was having a GREAT day, coherent, remembering things from years ago, engaging, charming, and funny. We knew we were getting a glimpse of the real “Bill,” and it was wonderful.
On our next visit, his wife told us he’d passed away soon after.
As we shared about our fantastic conversation and how clear his mind had been, she received comfort and a treasured memory.
Our song "Sometimes I Forget" was born from our many experiences like these.
Thanks for listening to it HERE.
-- Matt & Carol