Mudcat Café message #3301049 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #143037   Message #3301049
Posted By: Joe Offer
02-Feb-12 - 03:17 PM
Thread Name: Entertaining dementia patients
Subject: RE: Entertaining dementia patients
Our church choir has been singing at nursing homes for a number of years. We started doing carols at Christmas, and more recently we've done patriotic songs at the Fourth of July. We have a very good pianist, and I'm the emcee and director. I make a practice of never talking down to my audience, be they children or the elderly or whoever, and that usually works very well for me.

We went to a new "memory care" (dementia) center this Christmas, and we were very well-received. I was asked to come back and sing with the residents, so I tried that once before Christmas. It wasn't as successful as I hoped, so I think I need to try a variety of approaches. What I did before Christmas, was sit in a circle with five or six residents, and sing through a number of pop songs from the thirties and forties. There was one woman in a wheelchair who held her baby doll and sang along on every song, but most of the others did not seem to respond. A friend who sings for dementia patients says she has better luck with children's songs, but I thought that singing to them as children might be demeaning. I'm going to have to experiment to get the right mix, I think.