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Sep 18, 2020 - 7:35:06 PM
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571 posts since 8/10/2017

My dad is in a nursing home. He had a stroke recently and can't move his left arm or leg very well and can't walk. He also has dementia. They are giving him physical therapy at the nursing home with the hope that he'll be able to go home when he can walk. If he can't ever walk we'll just take him home anyway.

My sister has been staying at his house and visiting him daily for a while. I went to visit him for the first time.

You have to walk up to his window, and stand in the bushes and knock on the window. They will come open the curtains and the window and let you talk through the window screen. You have to wear a mask.

My dad was angry and wanted to go home. He did not understand why he was there and we wouldn't help him go home. I happened to have a banjo in the car. My sister told me I should play it. So I got it out and played a tune. He started clapping with both hands and smiling and laughing and saying stuff like "whee!" There was a lady in a wheel chair in the hall when we arrived and after a few tunes there were about three people in wheel chairs outside my dad's room. They pretended like they weren't listening. Maybe they weren't, but it seems suspicious to me that they were there.

The music cheered my dad up and he forgot he was angry and was looking forward to breakfast tomorrow again. He also seemed to have less dementia all of a sudden and started reciting the lyrics to Zippity-doo-da.

The power of music.

Sep 18, 2020 - 8:03:53 PM

210 posts since 6/11/2019

Though I don't know you personally, I'm so sorry to hear of your situation. You are a fellow traveler, and I can relate. So sad these days that people can't visit with their folks as they want to in their golden years. Prayers for y'all

I am blessed to have both parents still with us, but 11 driving hours away. Mom had flu in July--thought I needed to go buy a suit, but she thankfully recovered. I plan to go see them in a few weeks--before the election, cause I fear if I wait til after, unrest will make travel difficult.

Power of music is right--she is a classical piano teacher and I will bring my fiddle and mandolin to get her "back up to speed." Dad will enjoy listening.

Edited by - Flat_the_3rd_n7th on 09/18/2020 20:18:34

Sep 18, 2020 - 8:09:41 PM

4861 posts since 9/26/2008

That's really nice, and I think it's true that music can do powerful things to the mind. 

My mom is at a place to rehab after back surgery, and is having trouble with her recovery, been there for a couple of weeks after a week and a half in the hospital. Same visitation scenario except no screen so you have to yell through the window glass. I tried to get her to talk via phone, but she said she didn't like holding it sad

I think I'll take my fiddle tomorrow and see how that goes. 

Edited by - ChickenMan on 09/18/2020 20:10:06

Sep 18, 2020 - 8:10:38 PM

2072 posts since 10/22/2007

So you gotta wear a mask on the other side of a glass window?

Prayers coming your way! Had people in my family with dimentia. It's hard. Again, prayers to you.

Sep 19, 2020 - 5:24:56 AM

6 posts since 12/30/2019

Our hearts go out to you Diane. A parent with dementia in these times is really rough.

My mother was in a home with dementia and I regularly visited with my fiddle. I'd only been playing a couple of years so my repertoire and ability was (and still is) very limited. But she loved it anyway and a few folks would also pause at her door and pretend not to listen too. I share your wonder at the power of music.

Edited by - Ceanadach on 09/19/2020 05:25:44

Sep 19, 2020 - 5:43:16 AM
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5810 posts since 8/7/2009

My wife and I came back to Tennessee from Alaska and moved in with my dad. We took care of him the last 4 years of his life. He suffered with dementia. That is a hard thing to see happening. But I am so glad we did it. He was able to be at home until he passed.

I feel for you and your family. God bless. You will be in our prayers.

Edited by - tonyelder on 09/19/2020 05:44:13

Sep 19, 2020 - 5:58:49 AM

11335 posts since 9/23/2009

Hard times and hard situations to deal with. Music is a healer, though, isn't it?

Sep 19, 2020 - 7:29:33 AM
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571 posts since 8/10/2017

I was amazed to see it in real time, the healing power of music. It's a human thing, a part of us as living beings, who we are as a species. A clinical, institutional living experience is fundamentally lacking a lot of key pieces of the human experience.

I have also been amazed to watch my sister. She's the super Mom of the whole world, taking care of everyone. My dad, his partner, her four mostly grown children, the large portion of the company department that she runs, and me up for a visit.

Sep 19, 2020 - 2:04:46 PM

176 posts since 4/15/2019

My 85 year old uncle was in a nursing home for almost three mos before he died 2 wks ago. they would not let his wife or anyone else in to see him. This is not right! Never has the family been denied to be with a dying loved one! Sounds like some communist country!

Edited by - old cowboy on 09/19/2020 14:17:20

Sep 19, 2020 - 5:32:49 PM

11335 posts since 9/23/2009

It's really a painful situation, but they can't take a chance on somebody bringing in covid into that situation...things can get wildly out of hand and uncontrollable. It's just a really bad situation...a pandemic is no picnic for anybody.

Sep 20, 2020 - 3:22:22 AM

176 posts since 4/15/2019

That doesn't make sense Peggy. He was already in there with covid. They let people visit with other contagious diseases. You just put on mask and gowns and go in.

Sep 20, 2020 - 5:51:32 AM

11335 posts since 9/23/2009

Someone we know currently works in a nursing home (got me a gig playing there once a month, which I did twice and then it abruptly ended ... covid) and they take huge precautions with anybody walking through that door. So...don't know how it doesn't make sense, but they send anybody infected to a different nursing home and quarantine anybody new coming in, in a different wing, do regular testing and go through all sorts of precautions because if it starts up it'll go through the residents like wildfire and the staff as well...then start going through the rest of the community, etc., etc., etc. It's more contagious than some other things. For sure it makes things very difficult for the residents and families, but it's a measure they take right now to protect residents, staff, and the general public...ain't easy times for anybody, I mean it's a once in a lifetime predicament (we hope), but you gotta try to do whatever you can to put the brakes on the whole situation.  Not easy for anybody.  The person we know has had to stay home a few times because of possible's just huge precautions...hard for everybody.  It's hard times all around.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 09/20/2020 05:54:21

Sep 20, 2020 - 7:42:51 AM
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571 posts since 8/10/2017

I would imagine they could be vulnerable to a lawsuit if they let people come in. If anybody in there got Covid they could blame the "lax" policy of letting people come in to visit dying relatives. If only we had real and robust instant testing we wouldn't have to rely on policy.

Covid is family separation policy for the rest of us.

Anyway, thread drift, huh? Can't really help it I guess, since this is affecting everyone so much in every aspect of our lives.

I would play in a nursing home band if someone invited me. I don't know that I would go do it by myself. And I'm not sure if I would make a comittment to do it regularly. I'd have to test it out. I went once a long time ago to sing Christmas carols to strangers in a nursing home and afterward I cried for a solid hour.

Sep 20, 2020 - 11:18:23 AM
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11335 posts since 9/23/2009

Playing in a nursing home is another world...the music means more to people who are sort of captive and not able to do much, it seems.

I remember when my mom was dying in the hospital...and I was sitting there so nervous and sad...then she fell asleep and I laid my head back against the wall, sitting there in the chair and tried to just rest my eyes...then I heard in the distance, somebody, somewhere in that hospital, was playing a native flute. I could barely hear it through the hustle bustle of hospital noise...very faint...but it instantly brought tears streaming down my cheeks and just sorta loosened up a lot of feelings stuck inside of me...that's what music can do in those types of situations.

I don't know if it'll ever work out for me to play in that nursing home again...gonna take a long while if it ever does. But yeah it's a public health crisis and the rules and regulations are made from that view point, not much from an individual case view point...unfortunately I think I do agree, but not saying there's anything easy about's very sad.

I haven't seen my 95 year old dad since March...the situation is sort of reversed in my case...I'm the one who "believes in" covid...the rest of the family who lives closer and has daily contact is more into conspiracies and hoaxes and all that sorta stuff. There's a few other complications...but it's generally a sad situation for me to deal with. Don't know anything I could do about it...there's no easy situations for so many around the whole world in dealing with this thing.

Sep 21, 2020 - 6:13 PM
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2518 posts since 10/6/2008

Diane, I rarely read the off-topic thread, but I'm glad I stopped in today. I love your story, in part because I have one of my own.

My husband's mother moved to memory care in January and up through March, I'd visit her quite a few times per week. Once, I took the banjo to play her a few tunes out on the patio. It took no time at all for about eight people to gather around me in a circle and people were clapping and tapping and singing and one woman even stood up to dance. It was one of the most powerful and moving experiences I've ever had. And what I loved about it was -- I wasn't performing. We were just spontaneously jamming. It will always be one of the highlights of my life--no exaggeration.

I love that your music was able to help your father relax and feel happy. It's a wonderful thing!

Sep 21, 2020 - 8:33:14 PM
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Old Scratch


633 posts since 6/22/2016

I was playing in a dementia unit (or whatever term you prefer) about a year ago, and there was a cheerful old gal there who was from Cape Breton. She was delighted that I would be fiddling, and mentioned a number of times that her mother used to tell her about an old fiddler who would come to the house when she (the mother) was young. This woman seemed to be drifting in and out of childhood memories the whole time ... and as I was leaving, she said, "I'm so glad to have finally met you - Mom used to tell me about how you used to come to the house, and how much she enjoyed it - it's so good to finally meet you!"

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