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The Plain English Attorney

By Lauren Watral, MSW Geriatric Care Manager

“I wonder, what kind of music do my elderly parents listen to when they are in the mood for music……..”. “That’s the $64,000question” (an old saying from the time).

Most of the time a short trip to the living room, den or garage may hold the key to elderly music. Sometimes there can be a shelf or shelves full of the answer…… long playing (LP) albums from Tommy Dorsey, Nat King Cole or many others.

At other times a quick look reveals nothing as the “Stereophonic” player was sold with the LPs long ago, thrown or given away to a neighbor as a moving away gesture.

As a caregiver to elderly parents, it is important to help them be as comfortable as possible when they are becoming more sedentary and listening and cognitive skills may not be what they were. Crafts for the elderly parent or games for the elderly can be enhanced with music from their era. Keep in mind that “their era” could encompass several decades of time, say from the 30’s,40’s, 50’s, and early 60’s.

A good game of Sudoku, bridge, canasta or putting together a puzzle while listening to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, by The Andrew Sisters or Sentimental Journey by Les Brown may be just the thing to make the game complete or the day go by. Personal preference plays a large role in the choosing of the selections to play. Some love the selections below and will be satisfied, others will want more “modern” music like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin or Tony Bennett. Do not hesitate to ask as memories of one song or album may disturb or otherwise be objectionable to the elderly parent. Most elderly music however, will be a soothing and positive experience on its own or in combination with games for the elderly.

A partial list of Swing Era Hits include:

New San Antonio Rose – Bob Wills
White Christmas – Bing Crosby
Body and Soul – Coleman Hawkins
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy – The Andrews Sisters
Deep in the Heart of Texas – Alvino Ray
Oklahoma! – From the Musical
Goodnight Irene – Leadbelly
Salt Peanuts – Dizzy Gillespie
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah – Johnny Mercer
This Land is your Land – Woody Guthrie

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