“Happy Hour”

These are  some of the results from the program I loving called “Happy Hour”.

Happy Hour

Happy Hour

I was able to visit and perform for  a local Alzheimer Care Center.

My first visit (Which I found to be one of the most beneficial to both clients and staff) began with a tour of the facility. I saw Day Rooms in all 3 wings.

In the first Day room, residents were watching a movie and all greeted me with a “Hello”. They were headed to the Dining room for other musical entertainment.

The second Day room was filled with family members, staff and 7 or 8 residents that seemed to be in various stages of focus.

I started with some songs and a health care  assistant started with hand clapping. Within a half hour, people were dancing and singing. A joyous time, music can change the energy of a room; relieve stress in clients, family members and staff.

I was asked to visit a patient’s room and  I was told she never comes out of her room.

When I arrived at the door I saw a woman sitting in a chair watching television.  I went in with my guitar and asked if I could play a song for her.

She said, “Yes”.

The TV was turned off and I started playing. She started moving and grooving in her chair then she got up and started to dance like she was on stage. Staff came to the door, to witness the “Happening. The woman invited the staff to join in with the dance.

The health care assistant signaled me to come outside the room. I continued to play and she followed me out of her room to the Day room on that wing. She continued to dance. I played a couple of more songs down and then I was asked to visit a room at the end of the hall.

A patient was on Hospice. He was an older man on oxygen and asleep. He had 4 family members at bedside. I stood at the foot of the bed and sang “Old Bones”” The Torch” and “Happy Trails to You”

It was surreal and special.  The family thanked me. I left and felt that the very first “Happy Hour” was a success. What a difference and hour can make !

The second “Happy Hour” was in the Big Room (Dining room). Clients came in from all three wings. Wheel chairs, walkers, canes and escorts. The staff had seated them in a theater style setting. I stood in the corner and did more of an impromptu show.

There were approximately 30 -40 clients in attendance, including my dancing friend who never comes out of her room.  Although they seemed to be engaged with my songs and a polite audience, I felt I got more interaction in “the smaller houses”.

My third time there, I played the Garden. Again 30+ clients and staff gathered around under the awning. Some of the clients remembered me from last month.

We were up close and personal. More clients sang and people danced. A truly “Happy Hour” for all.


Lyrics – Old Bones

Old bones inside an old raincoat

Old bones inside some ole shoes

Old friends from the hotel

stop by to wish me well,

They keep me up to date

on all the old news.

Sometimes I have me a whiskey  ( Binky, or Geritol  age appropriate )

Then I fall asleep in my chair

Then I dream that I’m a man  – much younger  than I am.

I bet by now you think that I wouldn’t care.

But I love life  and I’d do it again

Though I might not be

much more than I am.

Just to turn back the time and let my life begin

Oh Ya! I’d like to do it again.

Baby Body, Old Soul

As we stood at the door of the room, everything was in a dark shadow. There stood a crib with the familiar digital lights and TV monitors beside  it. We saw a fragile tiny baby who seemed to be asleep with a thin yellow tube stuck in his nose. Both my partner and I sighed when we saw him. How sad.

I said, “Come on, let’s sing him a lullaby.”

As we were singing “Old Bones”* very softly, the baby opened his eyes, lifted his head and stared at us. He didn’t cry or exhibit any sign of strain or pain. He just took us all in. Then he put his head back down and closed his eyes.

We finished by fading the song down and backing out of the room.

Both of us were weak-kneed after witnessing what we just did. My partner said just what I was thinking.  “It was like an old man just admiring what we were doing. He was assuring us that it was a good thing!”

I told her I had to find out how old the baby was, so I asked the charge nurse. He was 90 days old. When I told her how we sang to him and how he lifted his head, she said that was impossible. He was far too weak.

I thought, End of life. There’s no warranty, is there? We may have been the only event worth watching for the little old soul.

You’re never too young for clowns.


* This is the song that George Burns sang on his 100th Birthday