“Don’t you know that it’s worth every treasure on earth, to be young at heart. For as rich as you are, it’s much better by far to be young at heart.”
— Frank Sinatra, “Young at Heart,” lyrics by Carolyn Leigh
According to an otolaryngologist at Johns Hopkins, “If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool.” This is one of the reasons we offer music therapy at Kensington Park. In addition to inspiring reminiscence, “music… involves more parts of the brain than any other functions that we perform,” Elena Mannes reported in her interview with NPR in 2011. Cognitive stimulation can be accomplished through the music therapy technique of lyric analysis.
A 92-year-old resident of The Groves, while engaging in lyric analysis to the Sinatra standard, “Young at Heart,” reflected, “to me being rich doesn’t mean having a lot of money but that you can appreciate being here and family and friends.” I affirmed her statement and asked if she had passed down the same values to her children. “I taught my kids life is a very special journey,” she recounted, “and we all do what we can and continue on to live a very good life and learn to be kind and generous and helpful.” This single instance involving just one musical number illustrates the ability of music to not only keep the mind strong with song discussion and reminiscence but, ultimately, to keep one “young at heart.”