I have a regular Theraputic Music Entertainment gig at several local Healthcare/Rehad centers in the area. Healthcare/Rehab Centers are what nursing homes around here are called now.
On the 1st Monday of the month I sing at 3:30 PM. It's usually my largest attended "concert" of the month . . . 20 people yesterday.
I do a mix of songs from the 50's and 60's, along gospel songs and some of the songs from the Hugworks T.M.E. catalog. It's a fast 45 minutes.
I try to do the best I can . . . talk slowly and loudly enough for all to hear. I include a lot of humor and old jokes. I mix things up a lot, singing a slow love song after a fast song, followed by a funny song that is followed then by an Elvis tune.
They love Elvis.
I finish with a few gospel hymns, and then I shake everyone's hand and off I go.
It feels good, I have to say, when you hear "please come back," from the residents. It really feels good.
Singing to seniors gives them a chance to forget about their pain and loneliness, it frees them for a few minutes from worrying about what may follow next in their journey of old age.
No one, in my opinion, should have to grow old alone. I do not believe it's right. Yet, in our society, we tend to warehouse our seniors because of a lack of time, or sense of family responsibility, to provide care. I know that most of the folks in the places I sing at are there because of health or mental deterioration. As one gentleman told me . . . "this is where they sent me to die."
Singing to seniors is therapy for me as well. It helps me focus on the things in life that are truly important . . . relationships with other people. I wish I had more time to listen to the stories. If I gave each Rehab/Healthcare Center I sing at an entire day of my time, I would come back with a lot of stories . . . stories that need to be told. True validation in ones life comes when someone truly listens to you. Pardon the pun, but some of these folks are just "dying" to share their stories. They know death is coming . . . and before it comes, they have things they need to share. They don't want to be forgotten.
Singing to seniors is therapy to them, and therapy to me as well. A win-win.
God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>