Music is something people remember and respond to when almost all else is lost.
Yesterday there was a singalong at my mom’s nursing home. It is at least a weekly event, when a lady brings sheet music and song word books and plays the piano in the downstairs event room for those residents who get there on their own or who are brought by the staff. The songs are golden oldies like “Red Red Robin,” “Grand Old Flag,” “Sidewalks of New York” and others familiar to these folks from their youth or adulthood. Wheelchair-bound and more or less feeble, a couple of the residents knew just about every word of every song by heart and could sing along. Other residents wordlessly enjoyed the songs. My mother seemed pretty far out of it, half asleep and nearly motionless. But I noticed one of her hands gesturing in time to some of the songs. And she took her foot out of the wheelchair’s footrest and put it on the floor and tapped her toes for “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”