Memories Of Music by our friend Norrms McNamara
Music plays such a big part in my life. If I am in the kitchen, The radio`s on, if we are eating a meal, the CD`s are on and even in the bathroom the radio plays away as I wash and shave. Because of my night terrors (which can keep half the street up!! LOL) I now go to bed about an hour before my wife and listen to my local radio station through my headphones on my walkman and have found that because of this my night terrors have almost diminished into nothing but normal nightmares. Who knows why? But if it works for me then it gives everybody else including my long suffering “Angel” Elaine some much needed sleep!!
Last night whilst listening to the radio it played an hour of the sixties and a number one from 1967 called “When you Going to San Francisco” Suddenly I was transported back to being 10 years old again. I felt the same nervousness as I did way back then about leaving primary school and going on to big school. As I closed my eyes I imagined being sat there on a cushion in front of the telly at mum and dad’s with the fire roaring at my back. At the side of me were two wall cupboards where mum used to keep all her shoe polishes and dads tools were in there as well. I could actually smell the Cherry Blossom polish wafting up my nose like a smell of a long gone age. On the television was wrestling from the Wryton Stadium with Mick Mc Manus and the Royal Brothers. I was ten again and loved every minute of it!!!
Before I knew it I had opened my eyes and I was back in my bed in Torquay (With Alzheimer’s) and the reality of everything that is going on hit home once again!!
BUT!!! And as you know, there is usually a BUT with me, this got me thinking????
There are some great groups starting up in this country regarding Dementia and particularly in the south west of England where I live called “Singing for the Brain” Amongst people with Dementia this has proved to be a great success in helping people who have been withdrawn to come out of their shell a little more and not only to join in the singing but remembering the song without looking at the words!! These are great strides towards helping people who suffer from this awful disease to learn how to socialise again and get a little bit of their memories back as well as a little independence.
I am honoured that I have been asked to speak as guest speaker on the recruitment drives to hopefully find volunteers all over the south west of England to set up these “Singing for the Brain” groups and hopefully help them on their way to being successful.
Adding to this I wondered if it would be a good idea not only to play songs from “Long Ago” to a loved one or a client, but also music from five or ten years ago, as sometimes memories from long ago are the last to go and as I know from personal experience these are easy to remember, it’s the last few years/months that I have trouble with.
A conversation could be held with loved ones and relatives to find out if the person with dementia enjoyed a particular concert just before being diagnosed, or what was their favourite music which they have forgotten? This could then be played to see if there is a reaction or a memory stirred from within? I have always thought that music plays a much bigger part in our lives than we realise so to play music from down the years and not just from years ago could be so beneficial.
I suppose the million dollar question is “Does it help me?” And my answer is a resounding YES!!!! So if it works for me, it might just work for others.
I hope you don’t mind me sharing this with you as hopefully I have helped to maybe, in my own humble way, to stir a few memories amongst people with this awful disease, and if not, I would love to bet they enjoyed the music anyway so what harm can it do???LOL LOL
As always, very best wishes, Norrms, Elaine and family xxxxxxxxxx