When you think of the important people in your life, what stands out in your mind? Is it the way they make you feel? The lessons they have taught you? Fun times together? The things they have accomplished? The sound of their voice?
I was blessed with 4 incredible grandparents, all of whom were AMAZING people and did extraordinary things. Unfortunately, they have all passed. One of the most prized things I have of them is recordings of their voices. I had the privilege of doing music therapy sessions with all of them. I recorded excerpts of life review and discussion with one of my grandmothers. Hearing the sound of her voice and laughter, stories of how she and her husband met, what she was most proud of, what she thought was the best change she has seen over the years, my grandfather’s stories before the dementia got too bad… these are all things I can listen to any time I want. My mother and I both get teary, can still smell her lotion, the comfort of her hugs, and the way she made us feel whenever we listen to them. I now have a daughter who will never meet her. I’m certain that she will ask questions about her grandparents when she is older, and I am incredibly grateful that I can play these recordings for her to get a sense of the incredible person she was.
I worked with a woman who was a nanny for her grandchildren before becoming ill and going on hospice. She wrote songs talking about the things she loved about and doing with her grandkids. She dedicated these songs to them, and we typed up the words and recorded them. When the time is right their parents can share these songs and get a glimpse of how much she cherished her time with them and who she was. Knowing this brought her incredible peace.
At Living Spirit Therapy Services, we can do all of these things for you and your loved ones!
Most people think that writing a song is something that they absolutely don’t have the talent for. Our board-certified music therapists can guide people through the process one step at a time by asking simple, easy to answer questions, even for people with memory challenges. With a music therapist as your guide, absolutely no musical skill or talent is required!
Think of an important or memorable time or event in your life. Perhaps this is your wedding, your prom, your child’s first piano recital… for most important events and times there is a song or kind of music that goes with it. We can structure discussion about the important times or events in people’s lives, their values, and accomplishments all through the music. For people with impaired memory, this process often still works as music heightens cognitive ability, allows people who have difficulty communicating to express their thoughts (or allows families to share memories which they can affirm), focuses attention and structures interaction. We can identify important times, events, and experiences; find songs that represent them; and create life soundtracks complete with explanatory stories.
We can also help your loved ones create personalized playlists to use to decrease agitation or anxiety during cares, to structure interactions, or just to provide success-oriented leisure activities.
If you would like more information on how the music therapists at Living Spirit Therapy Services can preserve the legacy of your loved ones or to utilize any of these services please contact:
Melissa Spiess, M.M., MT-BC
Neurologic Music Therapy Fellow