My ALF's Got Talent!

  1. Unbeknownst to probably 99.9% of the world, this was National Assisted Living Week, so the administrator of my facility got this great idea a few weeks ago to have a staff and resident talent show. Never mind that NOBODY signed up until three days ago...........never mind that yours truly was the MC and had to wing it throughout the entire show..........our dining room was filled to the rafters with residents and their families, waiting expectantly for what I feared was going to be a complete disaster!

    However impromptu (not to mention disorganized) the revue was, I needn't have worried. The first "act" was a reading of poetry by a resident I call our "Miracle Man", who used to be a public broadcaster and came to our building after nearly a year in a rehab unit. He was in a near-fatal car crash and spent almost three months in a coma; he had some 20 surgeries to repair crushed bones and burned skin, got septic and was near death on several occasions, had MRSA, C. diff, and VRE. And in the middle of all this, his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and sent to a nursing home; when he came out of the coma to find his entire world upside down, he wrote some verses that came from a place in the heart few people are ever able to articulate. There wasn't a dry eye in the house when he was through.

    Next up was a retired nurse who read some of her own whimsical poems, then came a fellow I will always and hereafter think of as the Piano Man. This gentleman may have the short-term memory of a flash-cube, but when he sits down to play, he becomes an entirely different man. Suddenly he was no longer foggy or forgetful as he introduced his selections with the flair of a seasoned entertainer, then played "As Time Goes By" and "Jeepers Creepers" like I've never heard them before! And once again, I was reminded of how powerful music really is, how it can even heal the wounded brain.........if only for a few moments.

    There were a number of other acts, including a couple of operatic selections performed by one of our caregivers, a classically trained singer who must have the loveliest voice this side of Heaven.........I don't understand a word of French, but the melody was so sweetly tragic that I had to choke back tears. My boss did a couple of John Denver tunes, and on impulse I jumped up and got everyone to clap and stomp their feet to "Grandma's Feather Bed" (well, I may not be able to carry a tune or play an instrument, but darned if I was going to be TOTALLY lame). The show ended with one of our med aides who sings like Cat Stevens and plays folk songs on the guitar, and several long, loud rounds of applause later, we all agreed it had been such fun that we're going to have another one soon. I think even I'll have to join the Christmas sing-along..........if only #202's basset hound doesn't howl at the sound of my faulty soprano.:uhoh21:

    Yessir, we've got talent.........and we're not talking people who can belch the National Anthem or twist themselves into a pretzel.
  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   dianah
    Wow and WOW, Marla!! WAY COOL!! I wish I'd have been there to watch and enjoy the show!! What a lift that provided for everyone who was there, I'm sure, whether performing or being entertained! People are just amazing!! Loved the Piano Man and the description of the first man, the poet. Sounds like MORE!!!
  4. by   H ynnoD
    I've seen some of the least planned things turn out Big and some of the most planned out things,flop.Sounds like yours was a great success.Would have been cool to see.:wink2:
  5. by   jmgrn65
    Sounds like a great time
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    It definitely was a great deal of fun...........the whole thing sort of reminded me of the scene in "The Sound of Music" where the children were singing, the Captain soon joined in, and then the Baroness said "I should have brought my harmonica!":wink2: Me, I'd be happy if I could just carry a tune instead of sounding like a cat with its tail caught under a rocking chair!!
  7. by   RGN1
    This is one of the nicest things I've ever read on here!! How absolutely wonderful!!! & good on your administrator for the idea & you for carrying the whole thing off!!
  8. by   traumaRUs
    Marla - I think you must have the perfect job! You are so enthusiastic and truly caring for these people - there is a special place in heaven for you!

    BTW - can I come be the next resident??? I don't sing though!
  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    Thank you Marla!

    This made my day!
  10. by   VivaLasViejas
    Thanks, all. I enjoy sharing these stories with everyone because LTC has so many negative associations, and nurses looking for career options outside the hospital setting ought to know that it's not all "turning and basting". This is our Greatest Generation populating our residential-care facilities, ALFs, memory care centers, and nursing homes; they still have much of value to offer us, if we will only listen..........and once in a while, get 'em to sit down at the piano and hammer out "If You Knew Susie" in ragtime!
  11. by   dianah
    Quote from mjlrn97
    This is our Greatest Generation populating our residential-care facilities, ALFs, memory care centers, and nursing homes; they still have much of value to offer us, if we will only listen..........

    I so agree, Marla, which is why I enjoy working with the vets who come to our VA facility! I've heard some amazing stories, met some very honorable and wonderful ppl!
  12. by   weetziebat
    Sounds like a wonderful time, Marla. Would have loved to have seen it. Yes, the WW2 generation have so much to offer still. And it certainly is lovely to hear positive things about LTC! I think the problem with LTC facilities is not ever with the residents, but with the administration and management of so many of them. Great to hear about the good guys. :wink2:
  13. by   VivaLasViejas
    I agree, Weetz.......there's SO much bad management out there (as we both know from past experience). We aren't perfect either, but we try really hard, and we're supported by a company with the best reputation in the region for quality care. We truly are fortunate!