Music brings out the best of us.
Music brought the best out of a 92-year-old woman with dementia.
Elaine Lebar has been battling the memory loss disease over the past 11 years. But when she gets in front of the piano, her musical memory comes right back.
The Massachusetts woman’s daughter Randi Lebar, 63, began recording her mother’s piano sessions about three years ago, when Elaine moved into a memory care facility in Buzzards Bay.
Despite not being able to do most tasks without supervision and having little short-term memory, the one thing that always comes back to her is knowledge of classical music, from Chopin to Beethoven.
“I would take her out of memory care weekly so she could perform for the independent residents in her building and I figured I would want these memories in the future,” Randi told Caters news service of the recordings.
Although Elaine struggles to remember what she played moments later, the experience of sitting down at the keys has uplifted her family and those around her, Randi said.
“Watching her play is very emotional for me,” she said. “I have not lived near her as an adult, so these past few years have been very special to me.”
Research has shown that musical knowledge often remains in dementia patients, since the area of the brain that preserves those memories is unaffected by the disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
This proved touchingly true for one former ballerina, Marta C. González, who was visibly transported to her days on the stage when she heard the music for “Swan Lake.” A video of her recalling the upper body choreography to the ballet went viral last week.