Let There Be Angels

Every time I go to visit my mom in the personal care home I have to gear up, charge up my batteries, prepare to do battle with the energy draining atmosphere of the home.  There's the long walk from the front door to my mom's room, through the entrance way, past the wheelchair bound regulars waiting expectantly for visitors who may or may not arrive.  I thread my way under fluorescent lights along the antiseptic hallway decorated with craft paper cut-outs reflecting the current season. I expect to find my mom curled up on her bed dozing in the half-light of her room. Already my batteries are down to half, drained by residents resigned to the boredom of their days.

But today is different. Mom is not in her room. I find her behind the folding door of the small library. There is my mom, face alight with nine other ladies in music class. I've seen these ladies before in the hallways but here they are transformed. They seem to have awakened from their dementia, no longer detached but engaged, smiling, singing, laughing, toe tapping. These ladies share, communicate and interact. They are a little community. The room seems warm, full of sunshine, colour and joy.  In the middle, orchestrating this miracle is Cindy Bass, music therapist.

Music is ... the speech of angels.  ~Thomas Carlyle

Cindy is truly one of the angels to be found working with those suffering from dementia. She has added the following information about her practice.

“Music brings ability where there has been disability."  ~Dr. Oliver Sacks
Our music memory is one of the last memories that we retain and this is why Music Therapy works so well with the elderly. Music Therapy can surpass other therapeutic modalities because music can be both verbal and non verbal communication if verbal communication is no longer possible.
 Bob Marley said “the thing about music is, when it hits you, you feel no pain” I personally have witnessed many breakthroughs and truly remarkable responses in the people I work with. I am glad to bring about an awareness of the mysteries of the Music Therapy profession and to share my passion with you. If you would like more information on Music Therapy please email cindy.bmusictherapy@gmail.com with Music Therapy question in the subject line.


  1. Anonymous2:36 PM

    I too have a mother in this facility and living out of province worry about her well being. But now with this music program and other activities I can never get ahold of her on the phone because she is busy "doing things with the other ladies" My conscience is eased knowing she is connecting with people and music and not sleeping the day away, as she had done in the past. Great job!!

  2. Anonymous7:10 PM

    I happen to know Cindy from her Ottawa days. Even then she used to regale us with folk songs and sing-alongs. She's in her element teaching Music Therapy! Rarely have I seen someone so happy and engaged in her work. Having worked with seniors in the past, I've seen firsthand the positive effects of music. However, there's nothing to compare with a therapist who engages everyone around her and encourages the elderly into participating and enjoying the music. Cindy's passion for music is contagious and I'm sure all who get to work with her catch her enthusiasm.