22 March 2024

It is amazing how the brain works!!

This is one more of my friends from the hospice. She has a different real name but she wants me to call her Pauline. A nonagenarian by age, a lot of her cognitive functions are lost. Her brain often misfires leading her to talk to her stuffed cat or relatives that have been long gone.

Except when you put a piano in front of her!! I did not even know that. I was sitting with her in the lobby when one of the staff members mentioned that the facility has a new piano and my friend can play it. I pushed her in her wheelchair to the piano expecting her to fiddle with it.

While I am not familiar with all the songs she played, they were certainly mellifluous – and this is important – she was absolutely keeping to the rhythm of the beats. Her brain clearly knew how to keep count of intervals of time. She got so excited that she had me take videos of her – while she sang full throated to the tunes she played!!

After every song, she would step back and say something like “I heard you play this” which of course meant there was a part of her brain that was misfiring again. All I had to do is encourage her for one more. She would pull her wheelchair up to the piano again and start playing.

And I am not talking about one or two songs. Her memory function for music was sharp enough to remember at least 8 different songs!!

It is amazing how complex our brains are. But it is also instructive to realize that even if some parts of the brain of an elderly person (some of us have had parents go thru this phase) have deteriorated, there are other parts that can absolutely thrill the person and take them to their happy zones! Trick is to find out what it is.

Posted March 22, 2024 by Rajib Roy in category "In Transit

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