Esperanza’s mother, Antonia, lived with dementia. Personally meaningful music helped them to connect. Esperanza shares their story with us.
Sensitivity Notice: This video clip shows Antonia in the latter stages of life, when her dementia was quite advanced.
A text version of Esperanza and Antonia’s full story can be read below.
“Right from the very beginning, music became our thing. And in that moment she would forget about being agitated or upset. I played music every time I went – I would have it on my mobile phone ready to play.”
“Sometimes, if she was agitated or wouldn’t eat, I would just sit quietly for a moment holding her hand, then I would just put the music on and decide which one. Did she need something a bit more soothing, did she need something to liven her up – and then I would just play the music and I would sing. I always used to find it incredible how she would then turn and look at me, and then eventually she would join in. She would start singing and it would soothe her, it was nice. I relied on music a lot with my mum.”
“There was a variation of songs – I would sing songs that went way back, like one called Es Mi Niña Bonita. It’s a song that had a strong connection for my mum and myself because I had the little record of that song at home, it crackles and everything. I played the music and sang the song, and my mum just looked at me in a moment of absolute clarity and she said, ‘Your dad bought you that record when you were born.’ That definitely hit somewhere in the deepest memories and brought it to the surface in that moment. I had to leave the room because I cried.”
“Music evokes so many memories – it can bring a tear to your eye or a smile to your face… or make you act crazy like it did with my mum! It made her clap and smile and join in singing – even if it is just for five minutes, to have that moment and share it with them, you go home happy. You go home and think, ‘That was a nice visit. That’s good.'”
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