CALA’s 2016 theme, Aspire, challenges our members and supporters to look forward to the future we are creating for our residents, explore new ways of delivering quality care, and celebrate what has always made us great. Today, we’re bringing you the story of a special concert celebrating the creativity of residents at Mercy Retirement and Care Center.
The concert featured five songs composed by residents of its memory care wing and performed by first graders from a nearby elementary school. In a press release, Life Enrichment Director Emily Sanderson says, “I’ve written music with elders many times before, but this is the first time I’m aware of when the lyrics of elders have been performed by students in their community.”
Acompanied by Sanderson on guitar, the students performed the songs while the resident composers—many of them former teachers—watched and sang along. The lyrics were the resident’s own words and the melodies were approved by them. Here’s an excerpt from one’s resident’s song entitled “Let it Shine”:
Be a leader – Not throwing it away
I’m gonna show my talents each and every day
A board certified music therapist, Sanderson said the project took about a year and a half to come to fruition. She adds, “Music can reach persons with dementia who otherwise may have a difficult time communicating, and to bring that communication to the youth in our community has been an incredible experience.”
To see more of the creative talents of Assisted Living residents, view the online gallery of CALA’s California Inspires art show.