31 Jan My Way, Junes Story
As the Exercise Physiologist and activity runner at MCSP I see a lot of changes in our members. I want to mention a change in one particular woman named June. June joined the MCSP in late September and we initially had doubts about her suitability for the program. On her first day, she did not talk to anyone, could not respond to questions, was not able to engage in any activities and struggled to read a few words on a piece of paper. June would sit and mumble a couple of words, questioning when she would be going home.
We knew her reluctance to engage in the program would make it difficult, but we also knew the benefits of the program. All I can say is, thank goodness we did! Fast track 3 months… June is a completely different person. She walks confidently through our front doors in a matching pink outfit, floral headband, carrying a huge smile and so much energy. She has built such extensive and meaningful relationships with members and staff and now known as “Princess” because of her gorgeous pink outfit and loving character.
June participates in all the activities including cooking, resistance and balance exercise, card games and board games. She especially enjoys the music therapy sessions that we run weekly as she comes from a musical and performing background. I want to highlight one specific music therapy session where we were all singing the song “My way” by Frank Sinatra.
The members were reading off the lyrics sheet whilst the music therapist was playing the piano. Throughout the song, June was humming the melody as she struggled to read the lyrics sheet. It was when we got to the last chorus, where June put down the sheet of paper, looked up at the ceiling and sung the last verse, word from word, at the top of her lungs with such an incredible amount of passion. June’s eyes starting tearing up, and all the members stopped singing, turned their heads to face her and we all watched June in disbelief finish off the rest of the song.
At this point, her eyes became red and her tears became stronger. She looked down again at the lyric sheet, with a disoriented and confused expression on her face. The members paused and all at once put their hands together for an ovation. We could not believe what just had happened. It was like her 30 year old self emerged for the chorus of the song and the tears were coming from past memories of love, struggle and the performing arts.
I just want to say as a young man what a great pleasure it is to work with people living with dementia. We put so much care in to tailoring activities to people’s hobbies and experiences to bring out moments like these. Moments where people just stop and stare, in pure amazement.
Written By Michael