Enjoying Some Thanksgiving Notes With the Elderly

The bountiful fall display near the front entrance

A few days ago, we participated in an early Thanksgiving meal with my 91-year-old mother Ginny at her assisted living / memory care residence. The evening included some live musical entertainment and while mom was watching the singer, I was watching her feet tap to “That’s Life” and hearing her sing the last few notes of “New York, New York.” She was smiling at everything around her; soaking it in.

We watched while a resident spontaneously hopped up from her chair, completely filled with the spirit to move and danced and clapped around the room when the first notes of “Rock Around the Clock” started. There was also a man who turned to his wife when “Unchained Melody” began and he grabbed her hand and sang to her. This was when I realized that the unfiltered happiness of these residents was filling me up more than the actual meal.

This year, I am thankful for that happy music, for being in the present moment, for small gifts of time with my mom and feeling the bursts of joy from these elderly residents. Wishing you a heartfelt Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it) and soak in everything this day with family, or family for just one night, brings you.

With her constant companion Button in her arms, mom is beaming while enjoying the music.
She also loves pumpkin pie.

A replay of some of the Thanksgiving party happy notes:


  1. I’m listening to “Rock Around the Clock” as I read about your “unfiltered happiness” here. I remember my sister buying a Schnauzer doggie for our Aunt Ruthie because she couldn’t have her real pet in the home.

    Here’s to more warm memories. . . and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your whole family! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I love that you’re listening to the music Marian. 🙂 Yes, pets (and baby dolls) designed for dementia patients was a one-in-a-million idea for whoever started it. I think it’s the best gift I ever gave her. Mom’s is a Bernese Mountain dog named Button. Thank you so much for your Thanksgiving wishes and the very same to you! x


  2. What a fabulous day! The one thing that lifted more spirits than any other thing in my mom’s assisted living facility was music. It does a heart boog to see smiles appear, voices singing along, and toes tapping.

    One year, when I was feeling particularly creative, I taught some of my 5th-6th grade girls (the boys weren’t having it) some swing steps to Rock Around the Clock. A few of the other kids painted a giant clock. I forgot all about that memory until you referenced the song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the gift of music is magical Pete. It breaks through walls and stirs up fun memories for anybody listening and they can’t help but feel it, enjoy it. And speaking of stirring up memories, I’m glad Rock Around the Clock brought you back to a fun teaching moment. That’s great! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great to hear that your mom was having such a fun time at the Thanksgiving dinner. So glad you could be there with her as she enjoyed the music as well as the pumpkin pie! A time you will always remember.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A beautiful share Melanie. Music brings joy, and undoubtedly, took your mom and others back to some wonderful memories. We all need that. And I love your mom’s companion Buttons. It’s not hard for me to see how older people become attached to a stuffed animal. My husband and I used to give each other stuffed animals for Valentine’s Day. After my husband passed this year and I gave away half of our lives, I gave the stuffed toys away but kept one he gave me – a puppy with a heart hanging out of its mouth saying ‘Puppy love’. That was my nickname for him, Puppy. That stuffed toy gives me something to hug in my dark moments, so I completely get it. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debby, what a beautiful comment and I teared up reading about your Valentine’s Day tradition of giving and receiving stuffed animals with your husband and how you’ve held onto a particular one which brings you some comfort on dark days. I am just so sorry that you lost him way too early in your life together. Here’s a huge virtual HUG. Yes, my mom loves her dog so much. I really do think it’s the best Christmas present (3 years ago) I ever gave her. When she was in lockdown, she often talked about Buttons “snuggling” up next to her. I originally did it because she simply loves dogs, but in an unexpected twist, people with dementia are known for loving and attaching themselves to stuffed “pets” and baby dolls as it touches on old memories and fulfills something from long ago for them. Thank you for sharing your own beautiful story. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for sharing about your mom. And it’s not hard to see how the elderly need something to hug when there aren’t any humans around to give them a hug. Beautiful. Thanks for your kind heart Melanie. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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