I would love to share a story from the field.
One of my private clients with Alzheimer's, whom I do one on one Stories Love Music sessions with, has been quite erratic in his responses to these sessions. Some days he is engaged and responsive and other days he is too restless to bother. Over the past few months, I had some realizations that helped this tremendously. This client had been the president of his own company and was used to feeling in charge, involved, heard and seen. Every morning he still dresses for work, even though he cannot go anymore. Like most people he was used to his rituals and feeling engaged in his routine and now it was changing and he was frustrated. I discovered however, that he still went to a local temple and knew Hebrew. I decided to bring in several Hebrew prayers and songs to sing with him. He loved them and sang with me with a gusto he had not before. In the following sessions, I told him I was there to practice these songs with him so we would be ready to sing when he went to temple. Our sessions became "practice sessions" and gave him a new purpose and meaning in our time together. Amazing! Little did my 12 year old self know, when I was studying Hebrew with my rabbi for my Bat Mitzvah, that I would be using my Hebrew years later to give a renewed sense of purpose to a man with Alzheimer's.
Now I should point out that many people I work with, love and connect with music and singing so much, they don't need this extra sense of purpose and structure to it, but some do! Remember this and when you use any kind of creative engagement with your client or loved one, know your audience! Find out what they did, what they love and find a way to make it as meaningful today as in their past.
Thanks for reading and as always, please leave a comment or question as you wish!