Thursday, January 28, 2010
Making a connection
Elderly clients are so intriguing. I was a guest at a facility this week in which I was privileged to observe the activity staff engaging residents with music. A number of the residents were unable to follow a conversation due to advanced dementia, however, they responded with enthusiasm, clapping of hands and a few even joined in with the singing. Although the pathways for verbal communication due to dementia are not accessible, music seems to be able to connect residents with even the most advanced dementia to those around them. A young man shared with me that his grandmother, who he was very close to when growing up, no longer recognizes him however when he plays the guitar for her she lights up and smiles. He said this is a gift he is able to give her when he visits every week. This facility plays music for the residents through out the day that includes music from their era, gospel and soothing sounds. Staff are constantly observing the reactions of the residents so they are available when a moment happens and a door opens for just a little while, they are there to connect with the resident. Each resident was acknowledged, validated and spoken to respectfully several times during my visit.