Music is part of everyone’s lives. When I did regular school tours at the Musical Instrument Museum, I’d ask “Who plays a musical instrument?” Many hands went up; violin, guitar, piano, my dad plays drums!…” And then I’d ask “Who likes to listen to music?” All the rest of the hands went up. Music touches all of us, enhances our lives, cheers us up, relaxes us, puts us to sleep or wakes us up. It’s wonderful.
My tips for engaging with music:
Overall: look at a person’s body language, the eyes, the countenance, the response; they’ll show you and tell you if the music that’s playing is working well for them.
And when you find some enjoyable selections, share this list with professional caregivers on your team so they too can bring joy and fun to a person’s day.
1) Try some music.
Try any style. Sure, if you know the exact music your loved one enjoys, go for that, but try anything to start: play CDs, YouTube links, strum the guitar, play Pandora or other streaming stations where you can pick a style he or she likes, connect on Skype with faraway family members who play piano, ukulele, squeaky violins or saxophones from the grandchildren…anything that makes a person smile, become energized, or relaxed.
2) Try music at different times of day.
Does playing energetic or tranquil music first thing in the morning help a person get dressed and ready for the day more easily? Does it work better to play music during or after a meal? Is he eating, or singing? Does playing peaceful music in the evening (4pm on) help relax a person’s mood towards bedtime; and/or does playing live music or energetic music help a person expend energy towards evening, again leading towards restful times? Even at 3 in the morning if needed, choose music that either keeps a person connected, or leads one to drift off to sleep.
3) Try your favorite music styles.
It’s a place to start if you’re not sure what he or she likes, so it may serve both of you. It fills your own cup while caregiving. Escape to the bathroom, the garden, or your car for your own musical haven for a while. You deserve it.
I post Monday Music #mondaymusic on my Facebook Page, facebook.com/caregiverheart every week.
Tryn Rose Seley, Author, “15 Minutes of Fame: One Photo Does Wonders To Bring You Both Back to Solid Ground” at www.caregiverheart.com