Ruthie and Debbie presented information about Side by Side Singing at the Alzheimer’s Caregiver’s conference in Arden, North
Carolina on October 23, 2014. We told them how good singing was for healthy aging and gave them a taste of a Side by Side sessions. But recognizing that there isn’t always a Side by Side Singing session handy, we also prepared a hand-out with ideas for incorporating music into your everyday life — especially helpful for those who have cognitive disorders.
Here are the suggestions:
1) Play CDs of your loved one’s favorite songs by favorite artists so she/he can join in singing.
2) Create a lyrics notebook of favorite songs by downloading free lyrics.
3) Install free pandora internet radio on your computer or roku tv device. Pandora offers hundreds of choices.
4) Sing along with YouTube videos by searching favorite artists or old shows such as the Lawrence Welk or Andy Williams show. You can also search for specific songs.
5) Buy the singer’s editions of Volumes 1 and 2 of “Get America Singing Again” by Hal Leonard. The singer’s edition small books are only $4 each on Amazon. If you are over 50 years old and grew up in the USA chances are good that you will know all the songs. Songs include favorites such as: I’ve Been Working on the Railroad and Oh! What A Beautiful Morning. (This is not an ad! We just love these books.)
6) If your loved one played an instrument in younger years, get it out, dust it off and encourage him or her to play it again.
7) Play the “Lyrics Relay Game.” It goes like this, you sing “Oh we ain’t got a barrel of — ” and pause for the other person to fill in the missing word. He will sing, “Money, maybe we’re —-” then YOU to fill in a word and keep singing. Keep tossing the song back and forth like a football.
8) Whistle while you work (or hum if you can’t whistle).
9) Dance together to favorite music.
10) Play the “Opera Game.” Instead of speaking to each other SING to each other in wildly dramatic ways as if you were in an opera. “What are we having for SUPPER TONIGHT???” “We are having (dramatic pause) macaroni, macaroni, roni, ro-NIIIIII” You get the idea!
11) Buy an iPod and install your loved one’s favorite music.