Without a doubt, music reaches something inside of elders that nothing else does, and it’s miraculous and joyful to witness. I’ve seen time and again how seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia — even people who might otherwise be nonverbal — start singing the words to classic hymns as soon as the music starts playing.
(To get a taste of what I mean, I urge you to watch this 2-minute trailer for the movie “Alive Inside.“)
My worship agendas include a lot of hymns; we sing hymns for about half of a one-hour service. As I passed out hymnals last week, one woman asked delightedly, “Are we going to sing all of these songs?” I was happy to tell her “yes.”
Afterwards, the daughter of one resident asked me if there was any way she could get the song list so that she could create a hymn playlist for her mom. I told her that’s exactly why I created this site: so I can easily point people to resources for caring for their loved ones.
Create your own!
If you, too, would like to create an old-time hymn playlist, you’re in luck: I recently finished my project of 86 classic, professionally recorded hymns, arranged specifically for elders with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, as well as a separate set of 20 Christmas songs.
Use them all, or just your loved one’s favorites, to create a personalized playlist for your elder. You can also use them to offer a hymn sing-along session at your eldercare community.
Peace be with you,
Photo by David Beale