Music and Memory

I just watched Anderson Cooper’s interview with Tony Bennet on 60 minutes. I sobbed as Tony, who at 95 with Alzheimer’s sang with Lady Gaga in his last concert in September. Although he is in the full throws of losing his memory, his musical and preforming memory were still with him. It was a miracle that he was able to command an audience as if he were 45. Musical memory is well documented. I know that I can still sing the whole eight and half minutes of American Pie, although no one would want to listen.

Since I am very unmusical I am hopeful that if I live long enough and am unfortunate to lose my memory that some things I have done most of my life I will still be able to do. I imagine I could still cook as long as it is not a long drawn out dish. Certainly, “somebody died? Fried chicken” will be with me until my family needs it to be brought to them.

I hope that I will be able to play Mah Jongg right up until the end. Playing is good for your brain and I hope it helps me retain it although I might have to play the 2018 card. I fear that If I lose my mind I won’t even be able to play “go fish.”

“Have you got any fours?”

“No, go fish.”

“Have you got any fours?” It’s a bad ground hog day scenario.

In my father’s last years he had taken to listening to a lot of gospel music that was from his childhood. He didn’t have Alzheimer’s, but his memory was not as good as it once was, but he wouldn’t admit that.

For all my friends who have a loved one in throes of dementia, I hope that you can sing with them some songs from their adolescence. It might be a bright way to have a connection. At least none of the song s you might sing will be as long as “American Pie.”

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