Music a link to the past at Alzheimer’s facility

Melody Anne Demerell
Kalamazoo Gazette

Kalamazoo — They sit in a circle in the sunny dining room, singing “Here comes the sun, here comes the sun and I say ‘It’s all right.’ ”

For residents of Amber Way, the lyrics penned by the Beatles’ George Harrison nearly 50 years ago are more than an uplifting melody. They are a connection to days gone by.

“I know for mom it makes her smile, you see her staying in tune with the music and she’s just happy,” said Shelly Wisdom-Long, whose mother takes part in a music therapy program at a Kalamazoo facility for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

“Songs are associated with different memories, so different songs can evoke different moods,” said Paige Culross, a certified recreational therapist..

The goal is to work on memory recall through hearing familiar music, and motor skills by playing percussion instruments.