One of the things about being a therapeutic harpist is that you don’t often get to see people more than once. In my hospital visits, people are (hopefully) better and gone by my next visit. One exception to that is when I play at residential facilities. I have a regular memory care facility that I visit twice monthly, and I am starting to get to know the residents there. Most of the residents are Alzheimer’s patients. It is so nice to see them again, and even if they don’t remember who I am, they are always happy when I play and they love to sing along. When playing for memory care patients, it is important to play very familiar music, preferably from the patient’s childhood. So we play a lot of folk songs, like “Oh Susannah.”
It’s easy to connect with this population, and I have grown to love a few of them. One woman in particular, has been very attached to the music. Younger than most of the other residents, she sits in a wheelchair, and is vocal, but not verbal. On my last visit, I was delighted to see that she was beginning to walk, with help from her family. Even though I have grown attached to her, I hope this means she will be home soon.