The first day of Fall this year is September 23rd, so this month I am session planning with the theme of, "Autumn". Keep reading to learn my favorite songs I use during this season in eldercare and Alzheimer's/Dementia care.
1. "Autumn Leaves" by Johnny Mercer
This wistful song reminisces about a lost love. The lyrics depict vivid Fall imagery, including, "Autumn leaves of red and gold". This song pairs well with visual aides of different Fall leaf colors. I show the residents the pictures of the different colors and ask them to share which one is their favorite. This is also a great opportunity to bring in some Fall leaves to pass around and to reminisce about raking and jumping into piles of crunchy leaves.
2. "Shine on Harvest Moon" by Jack Norworth and Nora Bayes-Norworth
This love song depicts lovers who want to "stay outdoors and spoon" by the light of the harvest moon. I often use this song for music-prompted reminiscence about harvest time, which was a substantial part of many of my clients' lives. I show a picture of a harvest moon as we discuss this season. It also provides the opportunity to reminisce about their significant others.
3. "Sippin' Cider Through a Straw" by Carey Morgan
This is another love song that describes two lovers sharing a cider by sipping through a straw. I bring a visual aide of piping hot apple cider and ask the residents if they enjoy apple cider in the Fall or if they prefer, coffee, tea, or hot chocolate instead. I also lead them in instrument playing on the off beats of the song.
4. "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" by Sam Stept, Lew Brown, and Charles Tobias
In this song, two lovers pledge their fidelity to one another while one is away serving in World War II. Song discussion occurs over apple picking, apple cider, and even apple pie while I show visual aides. I also pass out instruments and instruct my clients to imitate the rhythm of the word, "No" that is repeated in the song.
Blooming Bridge Music Therapy, LLC specializes in eldercare, including Alzheimer's/Dementia care. If your organization is interested in group music therapy services in eldercare, you can find more information here.