Recently, I visited my mother in law in aged care. She has been there for 2 years as she now has advanced dementia. She is now largely non verbal, and it can be very challenging to connect with her.
On this occasion I arrived and family were already present, talking to her and offering much needed fluids. She was quite disengaged apart from some occasional nods.
One way of connecting with her had been by using doll therapy, but recently even this was not bringing about connection. I tried role playing with the doll but this evoked no spark.
I suggested we play some music. We put on a newly configured play list and I sang along, involving her by swaying her arms. After a few minutes her attention improved, we enjoyed some occasional chuckles. She then began to give yes/no answers to our questions.
We had 20 minutes of wonderful connection. As I left, I stroked her forehead and said “Good night mum”. To our amazement, she replied “Good night”.