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Music and Guitar Break Through the Barriers of Dementia and Alzheimer's

by vaughn skow September 27, 2019 2 min read

Okay guitar & music buddies, in case ya need it ... here is yet another reason to play guitar!  I recently made a trip to see an elderly gentleman that I had not visited in quite some time; his lovely daughter had informed me that her dad had been declining rapidly in the throws of dementia.  He did not remember me, and his daughter told me that he even failed to remember her from time to time.  Putting sentences together was difficult for him, and even simple conversation evaded his grasp.  Folks, this is a difficult thing for all concerned to deal with.  But even in this bleak picture, there was a glimmer of light.  Let's talk about THAT!

I had the piece of mind to bring a guitar along on this trip, and it proved a very good decision indeed. 

Having learned that Frank Sinatra was among his favorite artists, I learned one of Sinatra's biggest songs in hopes he would sing along, and boy did he!  I then moved to some 50's and 60's songs, the music of his youth, and again he sang right along.  But what really amazed me was when I moved to more contemporary songs of the 1980's and 90's, dad gum if he didn't sing along just as well!  Yes!  Music had connected at a level no other form of communication could; it was beautiful.  Afterwards, his daughter said he "had not been that engaged in a long time."

It's tough seeing folks in that condition, but knowing I, through music, could bring a little relief, and even happiness ... well that is a little on the priceless side.  And it turns out that what I stumbled onto is a well known fact!  Not only does music help dementia patients remember, but folks ... and this is pure gold ... regularly playing a musical instrument throughout your lifetime actually helps keep your brain fit and guard against  memory loss as you age.  Dude!  One MORE important reason to play, your welcome!

If ya want to read more on this topic, here are a couple of outside blog recommendations: (The first one is GOLDEN)

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