When I come to the end of the road…

Excerpt from “Let Me Go”

Written by Christine Georgina Rossetti

When I come to the end of the road,
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little – but not for long.
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that once we shared.
Miss me, but let me go.
For this is a journey we must all take,
And each must go alone.
It’s all part of the master plan,
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart,
Go to the friends we know,
Laugh at all the things we used to do.
Miss me, but let me go.

Christina Georgina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894 / London)


Life Matters Too: Bev's story of improving life through the use of music

Thanks to Bev Foster for this story

“For the last number of years, I’ve done music on Christmas morning at our local long term care home. One year, there was a woman who had been a night club singer – she knew all the riffs. While she couldn’t remember what she had for breakfast, or her daughter’s name, once the piano intro started, she would come alive, stand in her performing stance, twinkle in her eye, an imaginary microphone in hand, and break into song.  She knew every word and performed with ease and musical nuance. She was effervescent. She was on stage. She delivered.”

True or False: Music decreases pain

Correct answer: “It depends!”

Music needs to be personalized for the individual you are caring for.  Play the wrong music, increase the pain… play music that resonates with the person, you may be able to help decrease the pain.

Peaceful music, combined with beautiful photography may decrease stress for those who can relax to the music.  As I watch this video (Prelude in b flat minor, J.S. Bach) from Room 217 and enjoy the images I feel peaceful.  When my grandson, then 4 years old saw this for the first time, he was mesmerized and focused on the music and the images. For both of us, I think the music video would have decreased pain.

In a previous blog I mentioned about using music to stimulate learning. I provided examples from Broadway Musicals.  These particular songs could increase tension and increase pain if the person did not like the style of music, the message in the lyrics, or a memory attached to the music.

A principle of hospice palliative care is to individualize care.  With any comfort measure I suggest “Respect the individual and individualize the care”.  This holds true for music as well as for any other care.


Guest post from Bev Foster with Room 217

Musings from Bev Foster, Room 217

There is something extraordinary about the capacity music has to enhance, even transform situations, relationships, well-being, neural circuitry and quality of life.

Music has the capacity to meet us where we’re at, influence our mood, trigger memories and give us pleasure, provide comfort and strengthen hope.

The themes of lyrics may tell the stories of our lives.  Music can influence mood, and mood can influence music. Music can shift our mood.

Through thoughtful combination in the use of music we can help people move from isolation into relationship.

Music can trigger memories and their emotional association.  This is one reason that music is an important intervention for people living with dementia.  Dr. Oliver Sacks, American Neurologist claims that music is a significant means of connecting with the “preserved self”.

As I prepare the Music Care online course for January, I look forward to helping you bring music into your daily care with patients, families and other caregivers.