Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Monday, February 22, 2016


Do you respond differently to music today than when you were young?  The Time Goes By blog devotes their Sunday column each week to the subject so I'm assuming it's a subject of great interest among aging Americans.

I'm finding there are a number of things that are necessary for the health and well being of the aging, music being only one.  Touch and affection are subjects seldom addressed but today I'm writing about music.

An phone call on Saturday set me to thinking about music and its importance.  I received a phone call from a sister-in-law going through the grief process.  In the 53 years we've been together I have never known her to cry.  When I answered the phone she was sobbing.  As soon as she began talking I knew what she'd done.  She'd put on music from the days she was young and dating her husband.  One song, one she loved, had tripped her over the edge into sobs.

I've known at least three times when music was played at the bedside of a dying person.  Hmmmmm

Please don't do that to me.  I get it that music is important.  What I don't get is just how important.  If I want some music to exercise with I'll choose it.  The same if I want soft music playing while I relax.  Please don't choose for me.

This reminds me of an experience when I was the legal guardian of a nursing home patient in a vegetative state.  It was decided a radio playing on her bedside table would be good.  Not my decision but I did not oppose it until I discovered the Hispanic aids were listening to a fast paced Mexican radio station and leaving it on that station when they were finished and left the room.  I could just imagine myself in a vegetative state being forced to listen to that jiving music hours on end.  No thanks.

I think music is very personal and care should be given to selecting what's appropriate.  Personally, I'm instructing my family to set the dial for a news broadcast.

How do you feel about music, and are you more affected by it today than when you were young?


  1. Yes, a newscast is undoubtedly what you'd want to listen to while "passing." Haha. One of my former students went on to study music therapy and has a master's in the program from NYU. I follow her blog and have been intrigued with the progress her patients have made because music therapy (here in Maine). I'll try to send you a link to a video of her with a patient. (Man, I wouldn't want salsa music playing at my death bed, either!)

  2. My tastes haven't changed much. I never liked salsa music or any of the jive or jazz stuff. My only hope is that something takes me completely out and I won't have to lie there at anyone's mercy or vindictiveness. Usually only the doctors follow directives ...

  3. I listen to music at night when I sew, instead of having the TV on. Occasionally, I hear a song that reminds me of when my daughters were young and their Dad and I were together in our home...many years ago. Music really can transport you to another time and place.

  4. I listen to clasic rock music on my iPod or iPhone from playlists I have built when i walk. The beat keeps me going. Yesterday I bounced along to The Beatles. I have talk/news radio on in the house in the morning, and the afternoons are usually silent. Music plays less of a role, in my life than it used to, but yes, I have nostalgic songs.
    One friend brought in a harpist to play for her dying husband. That sounds lovely.