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My Generation

Singing for Alzheimer's Patients and Caregivers

Kristi Cawley's song, Did She Dance, shines a light on memory loss in aging seniors

The memory loss of an aging loved one can be difficult for family, friends and caregivers to understand and cope with. Naturally, when someone living with dementia forgets his/her past, we wonder what knowledge, experiences and stories now lie hidden and forever locked away in that person’s mind.

See also: The Alzheimer's photography project.

While visiting a long-term care facility, Kristi Cawley was drawn to one of the residents – an older woman whose eyes lit up when she came in. However, when she tried to speak with the woman, Kristi realized that she suffered from Alzheimer’s and was be unable to share any memories or stories of her life. It made Kristi wonder: Who is this woman? Did she have a family? Did she have any kids? What did she do for a living? Did she ever dance?

These unanswered questions inspired Kristi to write the song Did She Dance, a ballad that's been striking a chord in the hearts of countless caregivers and loved ones. Although she’s not a professional singer or songwriter, she has one heck of a voice and a heart that’s been moved and molded by her front-row seat into the lives of seniors.

Every time she sings, more lives are touched...and with help from her colleagues, she recorded her song and now uses it to raise money and awareness. Her hope is to one day have her tune picked up by a Hollywood producer so that more people can be touched by her lyrics.

My Generation’s Leeza Gibbons met with Kristi to talk about the serendipitous event that began her inspiring work.

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