The Power of Music

Each day I visit my hospice patients and hold a space for them to express their thoughts and feelings about their situation. At the end of my time with them, I usually sing them a song to bring them comfort. Sometimes they will sing with me – even those who haven’t spoken for months. Amazingly. those with Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia will also join in, because music is stored in a different part of the brain than language.

I serve a sweet guy who has special needs and has lived in a facility all his life. He has a cute smile and beautiful eyes. He loves it when I come. Last time I visited him, the aide was giving him a shower when I arrived, so I waited for him in the common room. I played the piano and sang for the people gathered there, until he was ready. By the end of the visit, many other residents were listening, and singing with me. Music is a powerful tool of connection.

I did a visit with a 98-year-old man who didn’t speak English. The daughter-in-law was translating for me. I did the initial assessment with her and we talked about his life and his love for his children. Over the course of our discussion, I found out that he is not religious, so the song I chose to sing for him was “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. After I finished singing, I asked the daughter-in-law what he thought about meeting me. She said he enjoyed it and said that he thought that I’d “sung him a prayer”. I’m glad that he felt the love, even though he couldn’t understand the words. I love helping others to feel loved through song.