Hanky Panky and the Highway To Hell.....

One has to see the fun and laughter in any situation, whenever one can. It's the best survival technique I know. And none more necessary then when on nursing home visits.

No matter how 'nice' a home may seem, how great the level of care is and how clean and well presented the patient may appear, it is never as 'nice' as one's own sweet home. And the desire to return to ones own sweet home never diminishes, despite the continuing ill health that the patient is completely unaware of.

So the visits are always fraught with emotional roller-coaster rides, as we coast the varied emotional presentations that frequent every visit.

We look around at all the other residents and notice the many emotional states that are regularly on show with them too.

Some are upsetting for sure, but some can make you smile and give you a giggle!

I can't visit my patient without first by-passing the ever-smiling A, who sits in the entrance hall with her hand out-stretched waiting to hold yours and to have a chat. Usually to ask 'do you have a cigarette'?! Every time! I enjoy my little chats with her.

Then there's the other A who is quite funny, in her confusion, and who has a lovely singing voice. When she sings her favourite song 'Memories' - on constant repeat - sure you'd have to join in!

There's also the lovely D who calls all females 'Lady'. Incessantly, until you hear him and respond! He usually wants to offer you a sweet - from his coveted brief case.

The gentleman that is R loves to have a chat with you too, to tell you all his latest family news and to share his photos with you. He always remembers your name too.

These encounters can make visiting in the communal area, as opposed to night time visits in her room, really ....  'interesting.' When the 'conversation' gets too much there's always some background noise to tap into, once you block out the upsetting stuff that is.

The old black and white movies on the TV, like Breakfast at Tiffany's and even some Shirley Temple Movies. She of the teeny-tiny-tapping 'Good Ship Lollipop' fame who sadly passed away yesterday.

                                                    Rest peacefully Shirley Temple-Black

They also play some fabulously nostalgic music from the big-band crooners, reminiscent of the residents' era.

Songs that I enjoy too like the many Frank Sinatra's Hits and Dean Martin's That's Amore or Mambo Italiano

These are all pleasant and important memory-stirring exercises for the residents, many of whom have Dementia and Alzheimers. I too enjoy listening to them....and sometimes even sing along! Anything to help spark a memory ;-)

It's strange the thoughts that run through your head, as you sit there listening to this music, whilst trying to block or merely deal with the often confusing and distressing conversations.

Like, what music would they play for the future nursing home residents of my era?

Would it be all Andre Previn, Celtic Tenors and Katherine Jenkins?

Some Michael Bolton and George Michael perhaps?

Maybe a bit of Thriller from Michael Jackson?

Would the be cheeky and play  On The Road to Nowhere  from Talking Heads or AC/DC's  Highway to Hell ?

Or would they be daring and include some Madonna songs - 'Like a Virgin' complete with pointy-boobs.

Or how about some 'Hanky Panky'?!

Who knows what memories that one might evoke - from my on-stage dancing days of course!

I do of course hope it never comes to this and it is a long, long way down the line.

The 'Road to Nowhere' and the 'Highway to Hell' are long and winding and stretch far ahead. They are paved with all the fun and living that's yet to be had.

And long may that be so :-)



  1. Lovely vignettes of life in a nursing home and the interesting people you can meet there. Sadly I think that when our time comes, we will be more likely to be fed a diet of Whitney Houston and even, dare I say it, Garth Brooks.... xx

  2. I so agree with you on the humour front. If we didn't have an "inappropriate" laugh at some situations...well, we'd go to bed and never get up again. Also, I wonder which direction Madonna's boobs are pointing???

  3. (oh feck...I just posted as James, my other half. It's Jean Carroll here XXX)

  4. @Looking For Blue Sky: Well, I could cope with a bit of Whitney but I'd protest most vigorously, with waving walking stick, at any Garth Brooks!! Or I might give a bit of a line dancing exhibition!

    @James/Jean! Who cares? All we'll care about then is that they're not sagging!! Happy memories.... or is that mammaries??!

    Thanks for your comments and no problem on mix-up jean, I used to do that regularly!

    xx Jazzy

  5. Lovely post and "looking for blue sky", I'd think I'd have died and gone to heaven if I had a daily diet of Garth Brooks.

  6. Ah- who knows WHAT they'll be playing if any of us end up there. I could so empathize- my mother in law and father in law are in a nursing home together and there's one man who always wheels himself to their room when we visit and serenades us in a full basso profundo in Spanish, English, and a language known only to him.

  7. @mythoughtsonapage: Thanks. I think I'd PREFER to die and go to heaven if fed a diet of Garth Brooks!! Gosh, could there be a big melee if they played music others hated??!! Probably...

    @Shelly: Aw... that's so sweet! We have something in common with these visits ;-)

    Just thought of another one..... Barry Manilow!!

    Thanks for your comments here and on facebook, and for the shares too. I didn't expect that :-)

    xx Jazzy

  8. I remember visiting my late Grandma in her pensioners home, and I never really enjoyed it, it smelt bad and was a very sad place to be. My Grandma certainly didn't enjoy it, and speeded up her decline... how nice they play all this music in this home, and I really enjoyed reading your account of the characters there. And you are right, they will probably play 80's classics when we come of age! X

  9. Oh no, Jazzy... I read through the comments and saw that you mentioned Barry Manilow!! NO, NO, NO.... If BM (oooh, that sounds dodgy!) was playing I would want to run away from the home! Love that you take the time out to chat to the residents. xx

  10. @Older Mum: Sorry to hear about your Grandma. Nursing Homes can often smell bad and always (to me) seem such sad places to be. And the residents very often hate it and it certainly can add to their decline. But, what can you do when you/they need the support? Such a very difficult situation. Believe me, I know :-( They do lots of activities besides playing music in my mam's home... residents join in when they can or when they feel like it!

    @Bright Side of Life: Ok, so if they play Garth I'm out and if BM you're out!! Lol!
    They really are lovely to chat too... sometimes ;-)

    Thanks for yyour comments :-)



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