Friday, May 25, 2018
News Roundup

Karaoke team revitalizes seniors with the power of music

BRANDON — As the first strains of You've Got a Friend wafted from the speakers, a smile replaced the vacant stare on Pat Lubber's face.

She slowly raised her hands from her wheelchair and began to sway, picking up tempo as her fingers trailed across invisible piano keys.

All around her, the transformation echoed. An audience that moments ago had seemed lost in thought began to tap toes and sing along with the lyrics on the screen at the front of the room.

With microphone in hand, Laurie Ohall worked her way through the crowd. When Que Sera, Sera came on, a dozen ladies chimed in with their best Doris Day voice.

Que sera, sera

Whatever will be, will be.

The future's not ours to see

Que sera, sera!

What will be will be!

"I knew you guys would sing along to this one," Ohall said. "You like this one."

Once a month at Superior Residences of Brandon, a home-like community for dementia patients, Ohall hosts a karaoke session.

Born of a love for karaoke and a desire to connect with clients in a new way, Ohall, an elder-law attorney based in Brandon, started "Karaoke With the Seniors" two years ago with friend and colleague Irma Davila.

The pair host the event at several locations each month. At the Bridges Assisted Living and Retirement Community in Brandon, wine is served along with the music.

"We have a blast at the Bridges," Ohall said. "They get up and sing and dance."

When the pair brought the event to Superior Residences, they weren't sure what to expect.

"The first time we did it there, I thought, 'Oh, no, they're not going to get anything out of it because they're too far gone,' " Ohall said.

She soon realized that was not the case.

Bill Andrew, the life enrichment assistant at Superior Residences, can attest to that.

"It's kind of amazing. They may not know their son or daughter is walking through the door, but they know every word to their favorite songs," he said. "It really keeps them going, keeps them alive."

Studies show that music can have a profound effect on dementia patients.

"When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function and coordinate motor movements," according to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.

Songs from the patient's early adult years often resonate the most.

With some of Superior's residents in their 90s, that meant learning songs from as far back as the 1930s.

"We have a love of older music from the '60s, but we had to learn a lot older than that," Ohall said.

• • •

During a recent visit, Ohall and Davila, along with Arthur Moseley, of Griswold Home Care, and Andrew, the life enrichment assistant at Superior, led the crowd, taking turns at the microphone.

"If you want to hear something, speak up," Ohall said. "We'll bring the mike right to you."

As It Had to Be You reached the chorus, Andrew knelt on one knee and serenaded 94-year-old Christina Walsh, affectionately known as Teeny, before turning the microphone toward her.

From somewhere beneath the purple and blue blanket draped across her small frame, a voice streamed out.

"It had to be you, wonderful you, it had to be you," she sang.

"All right. Give it up for Teeny," Andrew shouted.

It's moments like that that keep Ohall coming back.

"The first time we were there it looked like she was asleep," Ohall said. "Then when the music came on, she lit up and would sing the words to everything."

When Moseley first saw the effect karaoke had on residents, he was so amazed that he formed his own senior karaoke group with members of his church. They hold similar events at facilities in the North Tampa area.

He joins Ohall and Davila whenever his schedule permits.

When the hourlong session wound to an end, Ohall put on the same 1930s song she always plays.

Good-night, sweet-heart, well, it's time to go

Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it's time to go

I hate to leave you, but I really must say

Good-night, sweet-heart, good-night.

As the music faded, employees helped the residents back to their rooms.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3401.

Comments
Subtropical Storm Alberto forms in Caribbean, threatens to drench Tampa Bay

Subtropical Storm Alberto forms in Caribbean, threatens to drench Tampa Bay

TAMPA— The first tropical system of the 2018 hurricane season has formed in the Caribbean and threatens to drench the Tampa Bay area with heavy rains and potential flooding over the Memorial Day weekend.The National Hurricane Center says Subtropical ...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Tim Butler’s first car was a Ford Model A pick-up truck — a pearl fawn and cherry red pick-up he got his senior year in high school from his dad, who renovates antique cars. That’s why as Butler waited for a table at the Ford’...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
FSU football fans: How do you remember Jimbo Fisher?

FSU football fans: How do you remember Jimbo Fisher?

Former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher should be back in the state next week for the SEC's spring meetings in Destin. It is, to my knowledge, his first big trip back to Florida since leaving for Texas A&M in December.With that in mind, my questi...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

TAMPA — A St. Petersburg man was fined $507,513 and permanently barred from participating in the offering of a penny stock in a case involving a scheme to manipulate the price of Aureus, a penny stock company incorporated in Nevada, officials said Fr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Alex Cobb excited about return “home” to Trop even in Orioles orange

Alex Cobb excited about return “home” to Trop even in Orioles orange

RHP Alex Cobb has already pitched twice against his former Rays mates in Baltimore and said it didn't feel that weird, especially since there were so many new faces in the lineup.But coming back to the Trop, where he made his big-league debut and spe...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Broadcom’s CEO tops highest-paid list with a $103 million payout

Broadcom’s CEO tops highest-paid list with a $103 million payout

Times staff and wiresNEW YORK — Chief executives at the biggest public companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year, bringing the median pay package for CEOs to $11.7 million. Across the S&P 500, compensation for CEOs is often hundreds of times highe...
Updated: 1 hour ago
He is accused in 13 Gulfport vehicle burglaries. An ankle bracelet tipped police off.

He is accused in 13 Gulfport vehicle burglaries. An ankle bracelet tipped police off.

GULFPORT — An 18-year-old man, wearing an ankle bracelet, was arrested Thursday after he was accused of breaking into 13 cars in a one-block radius over the last week.Benjamin Langkamp Jr. faces 13 charges of vehicle burglary — each of which occurred...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Warrant issued for Tampa suspect in January slaying

Warrant issued for Tampa suspect in January slaying

TAMPA — Hillsborough County deputies have identified the suspect in the fatal shooting of a man in January.Deputies are searching for 23-year-old Javon Rakeem Turner, who is wanted in the death of 22-year-old Elijah Moore on Jan. 17.According to depu...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with “a lot to be excited about’

Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with “a lot to be excited about’

Willy Adames' first stint in the major leagues ended as planned Thursday night when he was optioned back to Triple-A Durham at the end of his planned three-game cameo filling in for new father Joey Wendle.Adames said going back down was "tough" even ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Steve Yzerman’s summer plans: Make the Lightning better

Steve Yzerman’s summer plans: Make the Lightning better

TAMPA — Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning's window for contending for a Stanley Cup championship is not closing."I think it's wide open," he said one day after the Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the Capitals.Ge...
Updated: 3 hours ago