Richard’s almanac: singing at the Senior Center

The Shelter Island Senior Center now has a karaoke machine.

It sounded like some back road honkytonk on a Saturday night. But it was not. The karaoke music was coming from the Shelter Island Senior Activity Center.

At a recent Silver Circle luncheon, Assistant to the Director Sara Mundy, assisted by Islanders Dawn LoBue and Jenifer Corwin, enlivened the place with a karaoke machine with everyone participating and having a wonderful time.

Director Laurie Fanelli told me that music is great for helping folks with their memories. She hopes to establish a “music and memory” program at the center.

According to recent research, music is able to trigger memories from long ago for those individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

We all know how listening to certain songs from our youth can bring us back to those times. Hearing The Beach Boys songs can certainly transport us back to those special times at the beach in the 1960s. Listening to Elvis sing “Love Me Tender” will send us back to a slow dance with a favorite person from long ago.

“Because music affects so many parts of the brain, it touches areas that might not by disease and brings those pathways to the forefront,” according to Dr. Laura Mosqueda, director of geriatrics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine,

The result is the astounding awakening that often occurs, Dr. Mosqueda added.

I think that the “oldies” radio stations are popular because the music they play reminds listeners of when they were younger. For instance WLNG radio in Sag Harbor noted for its oldies music has a daily dose of Elvis and seems to play a few Ricky Nelson songs each day.

There are numerous television stations that also use old TV shows as their staples. Me TV and TV Land are two that come to mind, airing old shows from a less complicated, more innocent time. At least from our perspective now, those were better days, mostly because we were younger. Shows like “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “The Twilight Zone” and “Charlie’s Angels” are  part of nostalgia and not watched for their redeeming social value.

So listen to Danny and the Juniors singing “At the Hop” and you’re back at that after-school dance hoping to meet that cute person. Or watch a rerun of “Bonanza” and you’re doing last minute homework while trying to keep up with the Cartwrights’ adventures.

Memory is a wonderful thing and all the strides being made to help understand it better are good for all of us.

On another subject, movies set for April at the Senior Activity Center are “Lion” on April 16, “La La Land” on April 23 and “The Favourite” on April 30. These are shown on Tuesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. Snacks and soft drinks are provided. If you need a ride, just call the Center at (631) 749-1059.

There is also room left in the AARP Driver Safety Program on Tuesday, April 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fee is $20 for AARP members, non-members pay $25. Call the Center to register.

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