Let the Music Play

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Taking care of grandpa over the past few weeks hasn’t been easy. No matter what I say or do, he is ready to pick a fight with me or accuse me of stealing from him. I just keep telling myself, “It’s not him, it’s the disease.” I want to be there for him every step of the way, but I am only one person—I work two jobs, and I have my own family to care for as well. I am mostly concerned about his safety at this point in time. I felt as though I was losing my mind until I discovered Home Instead and our wonderful CAREGiver.

When our CAREGiver first arrived, grandpa was weary and resistant. He does not want to be helped in any sort of way; he refuses to eat, bathe, and especially refuses to exercise. I miss the days where we would go for walks or kick the soccer ball out in the yard, but he is not who he used to be. It quickly became apparent that grandpa would not tolerate his weekly visits with his CAREGiver anytime soon. He would aggressively tell her to go home, while forcing her out of the door, insisting that he is perfectly fine to take care of himself. However, one day she brought in an iPod for him with music from the 60’s on it. When she played the music for grandpa, something amazing happened!

His eyes lit up with excitement, and for the first time in 5 ½ years, he began to dance! She played him all his favourite bands: The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Elvis. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Grandpa was singing, laughing, twisting-and-shouting! It was remarkable. He was his friendly, wise self again.

Studies have shown that music reduces agitation, improves cognitive function, and reduces behavioural issues such as violent outbursts in people with dementia. Although I am aware that music therapy has been used more frequently over the last few years, it left me speechless when I witnessed how positively it affected grandpa. Now, our CAREGiver spends most of the shift listening to music, talking about music, and singing along with grandpa.

Thank you Home Instead for giving us this opportunity. It means the world to me that grandpa can have a few hours of happiness just from the CAREGiver being there and playing him his favourite tunes.


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