Dementia affects people differently but music, poetry and prayer are at the core of all of us, and the emotional connection to all three can live on well into advanced dementia. In a very powerful way music deeply moved 89 year-old Dorothy Stein, one of our residents in the memory care neighborhood of Standish Village, as she reconnected with memories of her childhood in Newcastle, England.
It all started when I discovered a Newcastle Facebook group and reached out asking for suggestions for local music that Dorothy might remember. Over 500 responses later I played a popular “Geordie” folk song ‘Blaydon Races‘ for Dorothy. You can see for yourself her reaction in this news story. She was singing, crying and laughing, completely engaged and alert.
These kinds of moments with Dorothy and others who have dementia can be few and far between, but when they do come, they are magical – heaven to those of us who work with people with dementia, as well as their families.
Apparently, this particular moment has inspired the world. At Standish Village our team just can’t believe how this heartwarming story went viral in England and the US!
Press coverage exploded internationally – here are a few more stories you may want to read!
- Chronicle Live in the UK
- BBC News (video)
- Boston Globe Metro
- Mirror News from the UK
- Caught in DOT (Dorchester publication)
- Dorchester Reporter article
About the Author:
Maisie Miller works in the Compass Memory Support Neighborhood at Standish Village Assisted Living, located in Boston’s Lower Mills neighborhood. She specializes in music therapy for individuals with dementia. With a life-long love of music herself and deep commitment to improving the lives of the residents she works with, she focuses on both connecting with them personally and also helping them reconnect with their memories and themselves through music and other means.