What I fear is that the Focus will be only on using the "Music List" as the goal..........not just a Tool...... what I don't want to see is that after the music and headsets bring the elders their music, they also take the place of what is still missing - human connection....... the truth is that in most elder care facilities in the US, staff just don't have the extra time to spend with each resident, so someone creates the playlist and staff put the headset on the elder, but then go about their chores..... so there is no human present, holding the person's hand and looking into their eyes....to Share the memories sparked. The connection and sense of self is what the person living with dementia is losing and needs most.
I envision people still in the halls...alone......but now with a headset on.
We are changing that into a Vision that is Real...... and now it is my Mission
As we witnessed in the film, Alive Inside and what I saw happen with the Asbury Park Pilot Project.... the light starts with a "shared musical experience" between 2 very different human beings at opposite ends of the lifespan.......but, then it becomes so much more! The young person expertly utilizes technology to help create the elder's musical "soundtrack of their life". The real magic begins, however, when they enjoy it together, using the headsets and a splitter. As the visits go on, the relationship builds and this experience becomes a real journey of friendship, wisdom transference and mutual connection. The shared music becomes the common bond that is so easily understood by youth and elder.....it is not the end....just the beginning. The continuing visits build a real friendship and the aliveness goes both ways.....the elder is impacting the young person and the light gets brighter and brighter.
What I am locally doing with Connect Thru Music and our collaborating partner Alive Inside Foundation is encouraging globally, is to promote this kind of real human connection using music as the vehicle. We mentor the young person to really "see" their elder friend as a human being first. The human component is the bridge....and actually becomes more important than the music. The Young volunteer STAYs with that elder, holds their hand, looks into their eyes and CONNECTs deeply with them while they are using the shared music as the spark that ignites the memories and thus be comes the catalyst to feelings of love and joy and sense of belonging again.
"Like John in the film after he got his music.... he said that that he loved everyone and cried .....that these were 'his gang".
He belonged again.