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A Walk Down Musical Memory Lane

Music is such a huge part of our lives as humans. From the songs that remind of us of our favorite vacations, to the epic break-up songs from relationships past, to songs that have the power to lift our spirits or get us moving, nothing activates us quite like music.

(And I can personally testify how amazing the music was at my wedding and reception two weekends ago! Everyone was on their feet dancing and having a ball.)

In recent years, there have been a number of significant projects and programs aimed at demonstrating and leveraging the power of music for the benefit of individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Recent movies like Michael Rossato-Bennett’s Alive Inside or Glen Campbell’s I’ll Be Me are moving testaments to this power. In the true-story movie about Glen Campbell, he had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and was told to hang up his guitar and prepare for the inevitable. Instead, Glen and his wife went public with his diagnosis and announced that he and his family would set out on a “Goodbye Tour.” The film documents this amazing 1.5-year journey as he and his family attempted to navigate the wildly unpredictable nature of Glen’s progressing disease using love, laughter and music as their medicine of choice.

My parents loved music and I inherited that profound love of music. For years, we have embraced the magic of music at The Ivey. All week long, our members sing, dance, enjoy a variety of musical entertainers, participate in Music Therapy sessions, and even take advantage of our new iPod Music Program. Stop by The Ivey at any time and you just might think you’ve wandered into a concert hall.

One of the common themes that runs through all of these musical offerings is that the individual’s music of choice, by and large, tend to be the songs from their teens and early-twenties. These are the songs that stick with us. The tunes to which we have the deepest emotional connections. Dementia typically spares the part of the brain that retains these strong musical memories – perhaps a small show of mercy from an otherwise merciless disease.

And if you think about it, this phenomenon is likely true for you, too. Think about the songs from your teenage years, your college years, and your first few years as a 20-something. For me, these would include great songs from Motown and the beach. Consider some of the perky songs that I chose for my wedding reception: “Everlasting Love” by Natalie Cole, “With This Ring” by The Platters, and “Love Train” by The O’Jays.

So I’m curious: what were your favorite songs from those times in your life? How do those songs make you feel when you hear them today? And how is that feeling different from the way you feel when you hear songs from other times in your life? It’s different, right? Please share with me by clicking HERE.

All of this to reaffirm: music is beautiful and powerful and the ultimate connector during our lifetimes. I hope you’ll enjoy this upcoming patriotic weekend by singing some familiar songs with your loved ones – rousing tunes such as our national anthem, “God Bless America,” and “America The Beautiful.” I’ll bet you everyone will know the words! Happy 4th!

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