Sunday, May 16, 2010


THERESA SALVADOR... From bright lights of show biz to Kupuna Care

Theresa Salvador once lived the glamorous life as a singer in a band, performing in various Far East nightclubs. I first noticed her while performing at the Pearl City Nursing Home where she works. I am highlighting her to honor all the nurses and health care professionals (last week was National Nurses Appreciation Week) who have the innate desire to care for those who cannot care for themselves.

Theresa often uses her talent as a singer to perform for the patients.

At most of the places that I perform, the staff sometimes feel inconvenienced because they have to wheel the patients into the hall and have to listen to my bad piano playing and lousy singing. Theresa, being an entertainer herself (much better than I am) does what she can to get the patients involved in the performances.

When one performs solo as I do, one has to worry about the music, lyrics, chords and the piano solos while trying to interact with the audience. Much different than when one performs with a group where one can pass the ball on to other group members. It helps a lot to have staff like Theresa who can help to carry the ball for me.

Whenever Theresa isn't busy giving snacks and refreshments, her patients often ask her to perform. In the picture above, she was asked to sing Streisand's "The Way We Were" and when she finished, the patients kept her up there to do another song. So she obliged with a great rendition of "Dahil Sa Iyo". I believe she was even dancing a bit which charged up the patients.

Then I had to follow with my inept singing. But, fortunately, I have no sense of shame so it doesn't bother me to have to follow someone who is a legitimate singer like Theresa.

When staff members get involved with the program as Theresa does, then the performance is no longer passive entertainment, but music therapy. The song choices bring the kupunas on a journey down memory lane, but when handed bells or other percussion instruments (or even clapping their hands), they become engaged mentally and physically as well. Getting them engaged that way is good therapy.

I have performed at numerous facilities and often, the staff looks at the hour of entertainment as an opportunity to take a break and talk to each other in the back corner. Some even leave the room hoping that I can watch over the patients while they do other tasks. Of course, the patients are usually wired with alarms in the event they slip off their wheelchair, but, I'm an entertainer and am usually concentrating on the music and can't be depended upon to watch them.

Not so, at Pearl City Nursing Home, where they always have 2 or more staff members in the room at all times. A tip of the hat to them and all the professionals there.

Visit their website.

Makes me want to hug every nurse that I see. Well..... better not.....

Theresa was not interviewed for this feature.

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