Pat and Donna Surface and their Minnesota Memory Care Tour
Pat and Donna have visited several cities in Minnesota, performing at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes, and senior residences - bringing their uplifting music and Performance Signing to residents, their families, and staff. The response is always humbling and heart-warming, with facilities asking them to return (some comments below).
These performances are especially meaningful to Pat and Donna. Both Donna's dad and Pat's mom spent their last days in assisted-living facilities - Donna's dad with Alzheimer's and Pat's mom with dementia. Pat and Donna have witnessed first-hand how music is the last thing people suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia lose. When they can remember nothing else, familiar lyrics and melodies spark life back into vacant eyes. Frequently, Pat and Donna will walk into a room filled with near-catatonic people, who immediately become alert when the music starts - smiling and singing along.
Pat and Donna have been visiting campuses and performing for residents around the state in 2019. Here is a wonderful letter we received from Grand Arbor in Alexandria:
Hi Donna and Pat,
Thank you so much for making the long journey to bring your music and art to Alexandria. The residents and staff of Grand Arbor were truly enriched by your performance. I’ve since been bombarded by requests to have you return as soon as possible and have witnessed numerous people aglow with gratitude and joy as they recount the feelings and emotions that were evoked during your performance.
In the healthcare industry, we often associate caring for individuals with things such as blood pressure checks, administering medication and stethoscopes. However, providing true care encompasses not only taking care of the physical body but also the spiritual and emotional aspects of being human. During your visit you were able to provide an amazing amount of fulfillment and enjoyment to one of our memory care residents named Jack. Jack is a retired high school band & orchestra instructor who’s life has been filled with music. Although Jack’s dementia impairs him from having the ability to speak very much, it has in no way impaired his ability to be spoken to by music. During your performance, Jack had an awakening that was seen physically by his radiating smile but also felt emotionally by his intense engagement as he was carried away and swept Over the Rainbow. Jack was emotionally inside of the music and was keeping time, anticipating key changes and feeling the crescendos and decrescendos. This kind of “care” is every bit as important-if not more. Thank you for enriching the life of Jack and all the staff and residents here at Grand Arbor. I look forward to working with you again soon.
All my best,
Life Enhancement Coordinator
Thank you for setting up the Good Samaritan Center of Battle Lake with the wonderful entertainment of Pat Surface and his wife Donna. We were very happy to be one of the recipients of this special event. Pat singing while Donna performing sign language pleasantly stimulated the senses and fed each and every one of our souls. The residents and the staff thoroughly enjoyed this performance (and the jokes). We so appreciated their talents and time spent with us. Know that you are welcome to come back to our home any time!
God Bless you!!
The Staff and the Residents at the Good Samaritan Center in Battle Lake
All of us here at Heritage Living Center want to express our deepest appreciation to the Spiritwood Forget Me Not Foundation. The afternoon that Pat and Donna were here was wonderful! Seeing our residents respond to the music and sign language was priceless! There were times the sight of their enjoyment brought tears to the staff and to family members as well who attended.
Thank you again!
Heritage Living Center
I want to thank you, Pat & Donna for sharing your talents & stories to benefit those who suffer with Alzheimer's and those who care for them, and for everyone who has enjoyed watching your performance. Thank You for a moving performance that touched the hearts of many & May God Keep You Safe as you continue on your journey!!!
Emmanuel Community, Detroit Lakes, MN
The residents really enjoyed Pat’s music and family and residents alike were impressed with Donna’s ability to engage with the residents with her interpretive dance. She had the crowd moving with her, and Pat and Donna’s energy flowed thru the room. It was a very enjoyable evening and we would love to have them come back. It was wonderful to see that when one of the resident’s started to sing a third verse of a song Pat and Donna just joined in. The Music and Dance was incredibly uplifting. Thank you!
Karen Laughlin ADC
Activities Director, Perham Memorial Home