October 2, 2013
I have a crush on a 98 year old man. I sing one-on-one to and with elders, most of whom have some degree of cognitive impairment or dementia. It’s one of the most fun and rewarding things I’ve ever done, and it’s an absolute joy to get to know people at such an intimate time in their lives.
My “crush” is one of my regular clients whom I visit every week or two at the nursing facility where he lives. Mr. S. is always upbeat, social, and a bit of a flirt. Because of his memory impairment, he has told me many, many times about what must be some of his most treasured memories. In his early 20’s (around 1935), he was a member of a quartet that drove to small churches all around Central Texas every Sunday to perform for residents in those out-of-the way communities who didn’t get much entertainment. He was a proud member of the University of Texas Longhorn Marching Band, playing trombone and holding the pivotal front-row, right-hand position. He served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. He worked at the same company for his entire career, starting as a “helper” and working his way to upper management. He loved driving a ski boat at his lake house and once pulled five skiers at the same time – which he said didn’t work out so well. He is a funny and fascinating person.