Thursday Thoughts about Joe Powell

I looked across the room, and she was moving her lips along with the entertainer.  She knew every word to his song. She was singing quietly, not just the chorus but every word to every verse.  I suspect that she doesn’t know a single thing about today’s iPhones, but she sure knows how to sing along about putting her “sweet lips a little closer to the phone” as Joe Powell sings the old hit recorded by country pop star, Jim Reeves in 1959.  The look on her face was so clear. She was remembering her world of the early 1960s when that song hit the charts in two music genres.

On the other side of the room, another sweet lady was singing along.  It appeared as though Hank Williams (Senior) had been her favorite!  I had been talking with her earlier, and I know she never experienced a “cheatin’ heart” because she had already told me about all her children, her wonderful husband and how many decades they had been married!

Right beside her was a good friend. They had talked about everybody in their old neighborhood, as I listened quietly. They talked about a family of 4 generations of dump truck drivers who lived near a quarry. There was a Billie, a Billie Junior and 2 more Billies!  There was a Jim and John who were cousins that lived at opposite ends of their block, and there was a family of seven sisters who loved to play baseball.

Joe Powell gathers quite a crowd when he visits our Integrity Healthcare Communities! Joe loves to sing and entertain, and he has a special fondness for our elder population.  Joe sometimes performs 45 times in a month, and he typically presents old gospel and old country music.  He whistles, he moves around a little bit, but he mostly works the room and makes eye contact with every resident.  He makes sure that he entertains each person on an individual basis.

Joe worked for 33 years at Laclede Steel before retiring. Right after he retired, he decided he would start entertaining.  He had sung with a church quartet in the past, but he knew he would love doing what he does now!  Joe has grown kids and grandchildren and he loves his family and his community, but he loves the elderly, too.

We are so glad he does.  When Joe comes to sing, these folks come to listen!  They gather like they are life-long friends, socializing and reminiscing about the past while some laugh about current events!  They are gathering for music therapy, but they might not know it because they are having so much fun!  They move their bodies a little and get some exercise; they relax as they listen to the music, decreasing any stress or anxiety they may have; they concentrate and pay attention and improve their cognitive skills, and their lives are improved by Joe Powell!

Joe is a member of our Integrity family, and it is safe to say that he is an important part of what we do … as we provide Care You Can Trust!   Thank you, Joe!