One of our residents, Mr. Larry, resides on the 3rd floor of our facility. Mr. Larry doesn’t communicate verbally very much. He also has very little social interaction with any of the other residents, other than those on his floor. He has had several falls recently, none of which have resulted in injuries.
One of our weekly activities in the spirituality department is the “Chaplain’s Corner.” Recently, we were conducting one of our Chaplain’s Corner activities with the residents on the 3rd floor. I was being assisted by some of our Rhodes University Student Volunteers. Mr. Larry was present, but not paying much attention to what I was doing. Instead, he was trying to get to the couch across the room. As I continued singing a song with the residents, I noticed Mr. Larry trying to get onto the couch from his wheelchair. I called for two of our nurses, who just happened to walk by at that time, and asked for some help. They immediately came to the rescue of Mr. Larry before he could fall. I invited him to come sit by me, which he did.
For the remainder of the 20 minutes, he sat by me. He focused on my face and mouth as I and the rest of our group sang various songs. Moments later, Mr. Larry was singing and clapping to each song we sang. Not only was he physically participating, but he was doing so with a big grin on his face. More importantly, he was no longer trying to get himself onto the couch. We have now asked that Mr. Larry be given the chance to participate in as many music activities as we offer, even those on other floors.
God used the power of the song to calm and settle the spirit of a restless individual. “Let us sing with joy to the Lord!”
Oh, and by the way, the song that caused Mr. Larry to focus on the group activity was”Jesus Loves Me.”
-Chaplain David Elkins