Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Lonely Old Man and his Music

When I was in university I used to volunteer once a week at a nursing home in Montreal's East End. S├ębastien used to play the piano and sing French songs, I would play the guitar, my lab Kerouac would lick them all to death. And we all had a hoot.

Except for one woman who would just sit there on her plastic chair looking sad, never said a word, and couldn't be reached by anyone.

It bothered me a lot. Because if loneliness hurts when you're young, when you're old it must be devastating. And if you can't reach them you can't do anything to try to cheer them up.

So you can imagine how I felt when I saw this video about a lonely old guy and the magic of music... 

You know... we are going to have to do much much more to help people in nursing homes live not just healthier but happier lives. Or we are going to be engulfed by a tsunami of sadness. 

The number of people with dementia is expected to almost double to 65.7 million by 2030 as the world population ages, according to a World Health Organization report published Wednesday.

And we don't even have a plan.

Only eight countries worldwide - Australia, Britain, Denmark, France, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands and Norway - have national programs in place to address dementia, according to the report Dementia: a public health priority.

But of course first we have to care.

Isn't music great? Isn't kindness wonderful?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. In the last six months of his life, my Dad would listen to "You are my sunshine" for hours on end. It made him happy when little else did.

WILLY said...

Cab Calloway for the Henrys, Floyd for the Willys. Add acid and state approved geriatric euthanasia and What a Wonderful World it will Be.

Simon said...

hi're welcome, and thank you for your story. When Henry burst into song it really was a precious moment. And your Dad obviously had a very good taste in music, because I love that song too... :)

Simon said...

hi WILLY...Pink Floyd, What a Wonderful World AND a little acid? Hmmmm...Good choice. When my time comes that's the way I want to go too... ;)