Want To Delight Your Aging Parent? Give Them Rosemary Clooney!

Want To Delight Your Aging Parent? Give Them Rosemary Clooney!

Create A Meaningful Dialogue Through Music

Many of my clients are searching for ways to engage with their elder parents in a meaningful way, particularly a parent who has dementia. People with dementia often lose their ability to communicate verbally with loved ones in the later stages of the disease. A Northwestern Medicine study shows how that gap can be bridged with music intervention. Many of us have seen the YouTube video of the Russian ballerina with advanced Alzheimer’s disease who came alive when Swan Lake was played. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlAXKJfesBM. Even as other faculties are diminished, the music stays with us.

But I don’t think the connection to music and its role in creating joyful, important dialogue is limited to dementia therapy. As our loved ones become more limited in their functional capabilities, music can be used as a tool to delight and improve their quality of life.

Bring Your Loved One The Music Of Their Teenage Years

I’ve been reading about the love of music, and how our musical tastes develop. Studies say the same thing: the music we loved as young teenagers (one study says 13 for young women, 14 for young men) is the music we carry with us for the rest of our lives.

It’s a bit more general than that. The New York Times study says this:

“For men, the most important period for forming musical taste is between the ages of 13 to 16. Men were, on average, aged 14 when their favorite song was released. For women, the most important period is between 11 and 14, with 13 being the most likely age for when their favorite song came out. It also found that childhood influences were stronger for women than men and the key years for shaping taste were tied to the end of puberty.”

I know it’s true for me. When I’m in my car and I hear Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May,” or Carol King singing “It’s Too Late,” it’s a major driveway moment that releases all kinds of pleasure responses.

What Were The Big Hits of 1951?

So, if your loved one is 85 right now, they would have been 14 years old in 1951. What should be on their playlist? Here are the top five:

1. Too Young, Nat King Cole

2. Because of You, Tony Bennett

3. How High the Moon, Les Paul and Mary Ford

4. Come on-a My House, Rosemary Clooney

5. Be My Love, Mario Lanza

You can see the full list at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billboard_year-end_top_30_singles_of_1951.

Music Is The Perfect Gift

Consider the gift of music for the holiday season. You can program a playlist on Spotify, get your loved one an Alexa (we tried it. “Alexa, play greatest hits from 1951”) or if they have dementia, purchase one of the easy-to-operate music therapy aids such as one-touch radios and headsets from the Alzheimer’s Association. https://www.alzstore.com/music-therapy-dementia-alzheimers-s/1956.htm

Assisted Living Locators Los Angeles owner Sarah Ordover is one of LA’s top senior living advisors. Certified in dementia care, Sarah is a trained aging specialist who holds an RCFE assisted living administrators license. Sarah thoughtfully guides families through the senior living decision-making process, helping them find the best solution for their loved ones. Call Sarah at 310-853-8282 for a consultation. Assisted Living Locators is free to clients.