92-Year-Old Woman with Dementia Sits Down at Piano, Performs 'Moonlight Sonata' from Memory

Quarantining has been a shift for everyone, but it’s probably been the most confusing for those living with dementia.

Many long-term care facilities and nursing homes enforced strict lockdowns to protect their vulnerable clients. That might have kept them from catching COVID, but it made it difficult for their family members to communicate with them.

Elaine Lebar, 92, resides at a community in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.

“My mother is almost 93,” Randi Lebar shared on Facebook in late October. “Who knows how much longer she will be around. I left for college when I was 16, and did not spend much time with her as an adult until 2 1/2 years ago when I moved her to live near me.”

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“In many ways, her dementia brought us closer and I have valued our time together. Then the pandemic came, and we struggled through Skype and window visits that made no sense to her.”

@orifbone#Alzheimer’s #music #pianist #dementia♬ original sound – orifbone

Lebar spoke of how difficult it was to be separated from her mother, which led her to share a bit of Elaine with the world.

According to KFSN-TV, she posted a video “with the goal of raising awareness about Alzheimer’s dementia and the effect of the pandemic restrictions on this population and their families.”

While Elaine may have dementia, the videos that Randi shared through TikTok have shown the world a bit of her mother’s beauty through the magic of music.

“An alternative to the election news: check out my mom on TikTok,” she posted on Nov. 3.

The collection shows the skill that Elaine possesses and highlights her wit and good humor. The clips show her playing a variety of well-known classical pieces as well as pieces she composed and published herself.

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One video that has gone especially viral is her playing the third movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” The video starts off with a description from Randi, and then Elaine proclaims “I don’t know it” before breaking into the highly recognizable tune.

@orifbone#dementia #alzheimers#music#Beethoven#moonlightsonata♬ original sound – orifbone

“I did not anticipate that it would go viral but here we are,” Randi said. “My mom, a professional musician, has significant dementia, but life makes sense to her at the piano.”

She’s got quite the fan club now — over 141,000 on TikTok alone — thanks to her daughter. It’s clear that Elaine has the gift, and her talent is giving hope and joy to viewers around the world, bringing people together during a time where many feel far apart.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking