Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Elderly Scottish Woman Suffering from Dementia Climbs UK Music Charts (Video)

 

OK, well, this made me cry. An 83-year-old Scottish woman who suffers from dementia is climbing the UK music download charts, singing a duet with her caregiver of Frank Sinatra’s 1969 hit, “My Way.”

Margaret Mackie and Jamie Lee Morley first performed the song at her nursing home, during last year’s Christmas karaoke party, and subsequently recorded it at Studio Sound, an Ingleton-based music studio. All proceeds from song downloads go to Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK. (Video below.)

Six years ago, I wrote a post about my mother, who suffered from fronto-temporal dementia (not age-related or Alzheimer’s, but the same sort of dementia Monty Python troupe member and serious Chaucer scholar, Terry Jones, suffered from). I re-treaded it last Spring, here.

At the time I first wrote it, I’d just read a book by Sally Magnusson, whose own mother suffered from dementia, and about whom she wrote a touching memoir: Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything.

A part of the book I didn’t cover in my post speaks about the importance of music in the lives of people suffering with dementia, and the way in which songs and musical memories from their lives often stay with them until the end, when almost other lights have gone out, and how those memories can comfort them. She suggests, if you have an old iPod or player that you might think of donating it to a charity or a care home.

For Margaret Mackie. A true hero. (Jamie Lee Morley is up there in my estimation, too.)

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There are 20 comments.

  1. Nerina Bellinger Member

    This type of post is the reason I spend all of my time at Ricochet on the Member Feed. This one, in particular, will be singularly responsible for my continued membership this year. Thank you so much for sharing this. My mother-in-law, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, died last July. And as the title of the book you mention says, dementia really does change everything. God bless that caregiver and all who show such compassion towards those suffering with dementia.

    P.S. It made me cry too :)

    • #1
    • January 25, 2020, at 8:19 AM PST
    • 14 likes
  2. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Nerina Bellinger (View Comment):

    This type of post is the reason I spend all of my time at Ricochet on the Member Feed. This one, in particular, will be singularly responsible for my continued membership this year. Thank you so much for sharing this. My mother-in-law, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, died last July. And as the title of the book you mention says, dementia really does change everything. God bless that caregiver and all who show such compassion towards those suffering with dementia.

    P.S. It made me cry too :)

    Thank you for this beautiful comment, @nerinabellinger. God Bless.

    • #2
    • January 25, 2020, at 8:53 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. Doug Watt Moderator

    I took care of my dad who suffered from Alzheimer’s. It was rough, and some days were better than others. Music helped, but I still tear up when I think about those days. Grieving becomes a day to day process with every setback.

    • #3
    • January 25, 2020, at 9:00 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  4. Arahant Member

    Music, and especially songs with words, tend to connect with more areas of the brain.

    • #4
    • January 25, 2020, at 9:22 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  5. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    What is it about song lyrics that stick with us like nothing else? For my wife and kids, probably one of my least endearing qualities is that they will say something that mimics a lyric that lies deep within my brain and I will start singing that song. It irritates them because, more likely than not, they haven’t slightest idea where it comes from. (What!?! What do you mean not everyone is well versed in Bing Crosby’s pre-Decca catalogue?)

    If I live long enough for the dementia to overtake me, I’ll be in the one in the corner singing obscure songs, probably sounding less Crosbyesque and more like a late career George Burns, “Ba-ba-ba Down by the river where the red rose grows, oh, honey, oh, my – everybody’s doing the Red Rose Rag!”

    • #5
    • January 25, 2020, at 10:01 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  6. Annefy Member

    My mother also suffered from dementia – nothing of note to really add.

    But what is it about Scottish people and “My Way”? I don’t know that I’ve ever attended a wedding where someone didn’t sing it. And more than a few funerals come to think of it …

    And it’s a rare Scot that can’t carry a tune. 

    • #6
    • January 25, 2020, at 10:52 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  7. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Annefy (View Comment):

    My mother also suffered from dementia – nothing of note to really add.

    But what is it about Scottish people and “My Way”? I don’t know that I’ve ever attended a wedding where someone didn’t sing it. And more than a few funerals come to think of it …

    Just a fierce streak of independence?

    And it’s a rare Scot that can’t carry a tune.

    Second only to the Welsh, perhaps? (Sorry, I do think they have pride of place.)

    • #7
    • January 25, 2020, at 11:43 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  8. Suspira Member

    OMG. When she broke out the harmony, I lost it. 

    • #8
    • January 25, 2020, at 3:18 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. The Other Diane Coolidge
    The Other Diane Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Darn it, I made the mistake of watching this when I had makeup on. I’m going through this right now with my mom but thank goodness she can’t carry a tune in a bucket so it’s unlikely she’ll break into song any time soon. She told me this week that my Uncle Bill has been visiting her a lot recently (she knows he died in 1997 and is mildly curious why he would be standing in the corner of the room looking at her now.). Uncle Bill was a Jesuit priest in Puerto Rico so after chatting with me about it she figures maybe he’s visiting because his crypt got shaken up in the earthquakes.

    • #9
    • January 25, 2020, at 3:19 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  10. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Suspira (View Comment):

    OMG. When she broke out the harmony, I lost it.

    Lovely, wasn’t it.

    The Other Diane (View Comment):

    Darn it, I made the mistake of watching this when I had makeup on. I’m going through this right now with my mom but thank goodness she can’t carry a tune in a bucket so it’s unlikely she’ll break into song any time soon. She told me this week that my Uncle Bill has been visiting her a lot recently (she knows he died in 1997 and is mildly curious why he would be standing in the corner of the room looking at her now.). Uncle Bill was a Jesuit priest in Puerto Rico so after chatting with me about it she figures maybe he’s visiting because his crypt got shaken up in the earthquakes.

    Oh, my goodness. Bless you, and your mom. My mother would make stuff up to cover her confusion, and because she did remain pretty quick-witted for quite some time, the unwary could be fooled by her stories, which they would then retell to us, only to find us shaking our heads. Later on, her always rather vulgar sense of humor asserted itself even more indiscriminately, and we sometimes had to cover our heads in shame.

    On that note, and relevant to the OP, I think my mother knew more “dirty” songs than anyone else I’ve ever known. She seemed to have an inexhaustible supply from which to draw something appropriate for every occasion. Occasionally, as in right now, I’m at a point in my life where my sense of the ridiculous could use a boost, and I can’t think of anything remotely suitable. In such situations, she always came through. I miss her.

    • #10
    • January 25, 2020, at 5:33 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  11. Weeping Member

    She (View Comment):
    I miss her.

    • #11
    • January 25, 2020, at 5:37 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  12. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Weeping (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I miss her.

     

     

     

    Thank you! Much appreciated!

    • #12
    • January 25, 2020, at 6:14 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. Manny Member

    Very touching. Thank you for sharing. They sang it wonderfully.

    • #13
    • January 25, 2020, at 10:04 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  14. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Mrs. OS has what I believe to be an inordinate fear of becoming senile. But I think we all fear it to some extent, especially those who have had close association with Alzheimer’s or others who lose the capacity to discern reality and/or communicate rationally. There is a real loss of the “person” involved which is sometimes harder to take than death. Conversely, moments of lucid awareness and communication are like flashes of bright light in a dark tunnel, especially for caregivers. I have the greatest respect for those who are able and willing to give of themselves for the benefit of those so afflicted. It is a hard and often thankless task but that just shows the depth of dedication required and given.
    Those of us not dealing with such a burden can bear up those so burdened by offering to do small things when needed like shopping, sitting with the one afflicted to give the caregiver a break or any such thing. And by offering a sympathetic ear.

    • #14
    • January 26, 2020, at 5:10 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  15. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OkieSailor (View Comment):

    Mrs. OS has what I believe to be an inordinate fear of becoming senile. But I think we all fear it to some extent, especially those who have had close association with Alzheimer’s or others who lose the capacity to discern reality and/or communicate rationally. There is a real loss of the “person” involved which is sometimes harder to take than death. Conversely, moments of lucid awareness and communication are like flashes of bright light in a dark tunnel, especially for caregivers. I have the greatest respect for those who are able and willing to give of themselves for the benefit of those so afflicted. It is a hard and often thankless task but that just shows the depth of dedication required and given.

    Those of us not dealing with such a burden can bear up those so burdened by offering to do small things when needed like shopping, sitting with the one afflicted to give the caregiver a break or any such thing. And by offering a sympathetic ear.

    Wise, and very understanding, advice. Thank you.

    • #15
    • January 26, 2020, at 5:15 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  16. KentForrester Moderator

    She, you’ve written a touching and evocative post that has started me thinking. In fact, it’s so evocative that my response is getting too long, so I think I’m going to make a post of my own out of it. Thanks.

     

    • #16
    • January 26, 2020, at 6:02 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  17. Annefy Member

    I’ve been following this thread with interest. Do you mind if I tell a funny story about my mom? It’s labeled “The only good thing that happened because of Obamacare”

    My mom’s trip down Dementia highway was breathtakingly fast. In September, we were saying : huh. That’s weird. Mom is changing subjects every paragraph. By Thanksgiving (the day my mother in law died suddenly), it was every sentence. By Christmas she couldn’t follow the plot and we devised a plan to make sure one of us was with her every day. 

    By April we knew we had to move her into a care facility. My mother in law had lived in a facility nearby and we were familiar with it. I had already met with the manager and gotten the pricing. (Cursing God all the while for taking my mother in law, who would have loved being able to help with my mom)

    On the day of the tour my mom was firing on a few cylinders. I told her we were going to do errands. Made my way to the home, asking my mother in law for some inspiration on a story to tell my mom why were we’re going where we were going. 

    As I turned into the parking lot I said: There’s some paperwork we left behind when Betty passed, let’s go get it. (Thanks Betty!)

    The tour went fine; in the car on the way home my mom began to ask about pricing (she was famously frugal but could afford it) I told her it would only cost $800 per month. 

    She said, Betty complained about paying a lot more than that. 

    I said, everything has changed since then. Now we have Obamacare. (My mom was a supporter of Obama and was happy when Obamacare went through)

    She bought it. It was the last time we had anything even remotely like a conversation 

    We moved her a week later. She tried to escape on the first day and we were all a little proud. I realized she saw the word “exit” and thought it was a command rather than a label. 

    So thanks Obamacare. You gave us the cover we needed. Although after she passed I fully expected to be haunted by her when she found out how much money was actually spent 

     

    • #17
    • January 26, 2020, at 11:29 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  18. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    She, you’ve written a touching and evocative post that has started me thinking. In fact, it’s so evocative that my response is getting too long, so I think I’m going to make a post of my own out of it. Thanks.

     

    Thank you @kentforrester. I’m looking forward to reading your post!

    • #18
    • January 26, 2020, at 4:28 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. Arahant Member

    For those who were interested in this for personal reasons, there is a related question over here.

    • #19
    • January 28, 2020, at 3:16 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. The Other Diane Coolidge
    The Other Diane Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    For those who were interested in this for personal reasons, there is a related question over here.

    Thanks for the link, @arahamt, And @she, thanks so much for sharing your personal story with us and offering to start a caregiver’s group. (I know this isn’t a very creative comment but wanted to make sure anyone skimming comments on this post knows we want to start a caregiver’s group!)

    • #20
    • January 28, 2020, at 3:26 PM PST
    • 2 likes