Dr. Wilma Sheridan Shares Love of Music | SRG

SpringRidge’s Dr. Wilma Sheridan Feels Blessed to Share Love of Music

Dr. Wilma Sheridan, a resident at SpringRidge at Charbonneau, can trace her love of music back to 1929 when her parents bought her a piano. Now, nine decades later, she feels lucky to give the gift of music and share her passion with residents living at SpringRidge’s Enliven™ memory care community located within the 10-acre SpringRidge campus in Charbonneau.

Wilma recently donated her Haines Brothers Baby Grand to the community, citing the importance of having music in the lives of everyone, especially those with Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related diseases.

“Music and the arts in general have so many wonderful and proven health benefits,” she explained. “Everyone can bask in the beauty of music and we all have different levels of appreciation for it. Some can hear in colors; some enjoy the content. Music touches one’s heart and soul.”

Research supports Wilma’s theory on the power of music. Studies have shown listening to or singing songs can have a significant impact on people with memory loss. It can reduce agitation and anxiety and improve cognition. In fact, the Mayo Clinic reports that musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer’s disease because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease.

In addition to the melodic sounds of the piano, Cindy Foster, SpringRidge’s Zest Director, says the residents at the Enliven™ community are thrilled to have a piano with its stature part of the musical program.

“It’s so classy and stylish,” she said. “It makes you feel good just looking at it – whether or not it’s being played. It truly is a beautiful instrument.”

Wilma, who is Dean Emerita at Portland State University, owned the piano for over 30 years and considered it among her prized possessions. She can recall only a handful of times when she was without a piano in her life.

“This is such a happy place,” she said of the community she’s called home for the past 25 years. “Most of us have a true appreciation for classical music and it’s my hope that the addition of the piano in our Enliven™ community will create even more happy memories and bring contentment.”

Wilma, 93, has also shared her love of music with her neighbors at SpringRidge’s independent living community. She’s presented workshops on musical appreciation, delving into topics such as how a musician develops an idea into a composition as well as personally performing numerous piano concerts with selections including “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven and “Ballade” by Chopin.

When Wilma and her late husband, Bob, moved to SpringRidge in 1994, it was the community’s proximity to Charbonneau Golf Club that ‘sealed the deal’. Wilma said he enjoyed playing golf and thanks to the retirement community’s maintenance-free lifestyle, was able to continue his love of woodworking, eventually laying the foundation for SpringRidge’s woodshop.

She continues to enjoy the numerous opportunities for musical entertainment offered at SpringRidge which ranges from concerts to Friday socials and outings to the many venues in and around Portland. She’s also heads the library committee, keeping the onsite library organized and well stocked.

“I enjoy everything offered at SpringRidge, including the amenities such as the fitness center,” she said.

Recently, she visited the Enliven™ memory care community to watch the official debut of her ‘baby grand’ in concert. Entertainers the “Singing Sisters” delighted residents with a rousing piano performance that left everyone wanting more.

“I love being able to give the gift of music – something dear to my soul,” she said. “It makes me feel great.”

The SpringRidge at Charbonneau campus offers a comprehensive menu of lifestyle options including CARF-accredited independent living as well as assisted living and memory care services. For more information or to schedule a personal tour, please call 503-446-6250 or visit SpringRidgeatCharbonneau.com.

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