Carol Howell Talks Dementia: Dementia and Music

Dementia—How I Know It Affects Us Throughout Our Lives

I am the proud mother of a daughter. She is 29 years old, successful, and beautiful. She has always been my heart, and she has never disappointed me. (Well, except for the time she decided to use the calculator to complete the long division homework assignment. Not a good plan!)

While I was expecting my daughter, I sang the hymn “Blessed Assurance” to her almost every day. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of glory divine.” It is a beautiful song, and I have always loved it. It goes on to say, “This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long.” That’s my goal. To praise my Savior all the day long, and I love doing so through songs.

After my daughter was born, if she was upset or stressed, I would rock her and sing this same song. She would calm down. She remembered hearing this song from days long before I ever saw her sweet face. Her brain registered that song as something soothing and comfortable and relaxing.

When dementia causes your loved one to be tense, angry, agitated, or physically sick, sing to them the songs they love. Maybe it will be hymns, or country music, or bluegrass, or Frank Sinatra. Whatever their taste, sing those songs. You will be surprised at how healing the music will be.

It’s been three years now since my daughter married. Want to guess what song was played when the mothers walked down the aisle? Yep, “Blessed Assurance.” (I love you, Brandie!)

Hope that gives you Something to Ponder.

Photo via Flickr