From Pain to Piano: A Song for Caregivers

 

“I hope that this song- or anthem- is one that will draw out conversation with family members to speak about what may be going on in a family. This four-minute musical piece will wash over the tired, weary caregiver who might be in need of extra encouragement on their way to work,” said Julie Sparks, a Lombard resident who wrote the song titled,“Anymore”, as an anthem for caregivers.

Caregiving has always come naturally for Julie.

“I am a full-time caregiver for my mom and also helped take care of my dad and my aunt until they both passed away. I have absorbed all the emotions surrounding important medical decisions, the frustration of people that just don’t get the importance of normalcy in an otherwise unpredictable world of person living with Alzheimer’s, the avoidance or denial of a loved one not ready to accept the real facts of what is going on during the diagnosis phase, the pain that is shared the first time a loved one can’t recall who their adult child is, or when someone is having a challenging day and you have tried everything you can think of to soothe a troubled resident who can’t articulate the fear, the longing, or what they need.”  

When it came time to write the song, Julie drew inspiration from her own experiences. Not only was she a caregiver to family members but has also worked on advocating for seniors for about 10 years. Julie checks in with residents every Monday and works to comfort them.

“The amount of people that are strangers to them in a place that is now their home, but not their home yet- is so hard for them,” Julie said. “Every person has a story, talents, fears, and hopefully loved ones that want to see their loved one thrive and get settled in. This transition is impossible if they are not surrounded by people with a heart and passion for the senior community.”

When asked how the idea of the song came about, Julie claims that it “evolved from the first line as a day in the life of a caregiver, and the cry that sometimes goes unheard of understood by many…that just because someone can’t communicate verbally or physically move as they did in their 40’s or 50’s, and cognitively keep up in card game or conversation. This doesn’t void out who they were or more importantly to where they once belonged.”  

Though this may seem like only a song to some, Julie hopes caregivers find comfort in her lyrics.

“This song is important because the world needs hope and more songs that inspire people to not give up. They need to bring hope and healing and package that in a song that educates as well- is needed for such a time as this.”

Julie took her pain to a piano as a way to give hope to caregivers everywhere.

“I’m so happy that I was able to poetically paint a picture of a day in the life of a caregiver and the cared for.  I think it when a song can uplift and help families talk about the important topic of the cognitive health of our parents. The circle of life is revealed in a tender way. My mom is all I have left. I dedicate this song to her and hope that I am able to look back on her ending years and know I gave my all to be her advocate, as she was for me when I was growing up.”

Julie wants other caregivers to remember one very important thing: “never underestimate the power of touch, talk, and simple gestures of communication to someone living with Alzheimer’s.”

To hear Julie Sparks’ song “Anymore” visit http://bit.ly/2qzmVWC.

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