Charitable Care Story: Hermann and the German CD’s

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Immigrating to California from Germany in the 1930’s, Hermann experienced disconnect and loneliness while coping to learn a different language and adapt to his new environment. Within a few years of being here, Hermann found love, married and had a son. Over the course of his life, Hermann lost his wife and son, and as age-related dementia came to the surface, Hermann found his feelings of disconnect and loneliness returning as well. By age 96 Hermann had hardly spoken a word in over three years, no longer recognized the English language and began quietly fading into seclusion.

To stimulate his memory, Hermann’s appointed social worker recognized what was happening and submitted a request to VNA SoCal’s Charitable Care program for CD’s containing traditional German music. In the later stages of dementia, when a person is struggling, music can often be used as a way to evoke a positive response. It didn’t take long before Hermann had the urge to move again and started tapping his hands and feet! He began to mouth the words of a familiar song upon hearing it, and visibly relaxed in the midst of his music.

As Hermann began his final life journey he gently listened to the music he had loved all his life and peacefully shut his eyes. His lips drew a slight smile and his fingers tapped their final beat.