Author: Bentley Dorics
Working with elders with dementia on the Music Between Us team has been highly rewarding, engaging work. It can be a little difficult, at times, to know if what we bring into a session with the elders is going to resonate with them or not. The most important thing is to seek out the music that is going to connect us to those that we serve.
Our inspiration for song selections comes from a variety of sources, whether it be an old song reimagined in an advertisement, on the radio, or a suggestion from a relative. The search never ends. We get together each week and gauge the reaction of our audience. Sometimes, every single piece is a hit. But, the music that they respond to one day may not be the same the next time. We take whatever we can get!
For instance, I love to bring a lot of energy, by way of dancing and LOTS of egg shaking along to upbeat classics, like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and strong bass lines from The Temptations. These partner exceptionally well with the selections Onyx chooses, which usually consist of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra standards. The mixture of upbeat and timeless love songs keep us engaged while keeping our audience reminiscent and delighted. Ruby's peaceful, yet joyful melodies from the guitar keep us grounded. The ebb and flow of each day, and all that we have to respond to every time we go into the Day Center is magical.
In this way, we have each settled into our respective roles as a team. However, any new ideas we bring to the table are always worth trying. This allows for a great amount of flexibility in our set and allows for us to be fully present with the members of the community.
Each day truly is a new day with those that we serve, but the opportunity to get to start anew is what keeps us engaged in the best way. Nobody minds if it is the third visit in a row that we have sung "You are my Sunshine," and I would not wish for it to be any other way.
March 18, 2022