Recent research, both formal and informal, has been posted on FB or in the news re: the effect of music on people with dementia. My mother-in-law was an operatic soprano, winning several regional opera competitions. Because one leg was shorter than the other and she walked with a decided limp, she knew she could not make on the stage. Instead, she married a preacher and gave that amazing voice to the church.
When Alzheimer’s took her memory for names and faces, she could still sing all the verses of all those hymns she had sung for years.
When she could no long speak at all, Papa was asked to perform a wedding at the nursing home where Mama lived. He placed her in a wheelchair and took her into the service. He put a tape of Mama singing some appropriate wedding music from when she was much younger. Listening to herself sing, Mama raised her head and said in a loud, clear voice, “Damn, I’m good.”
They were the last words she spoke and it was her music that gave her back to us for a brief humorous moment.