Touching Hearts and Igniting Joy – St. Joe’s Healing Arts Program


 At St. Joseph Healthcare, we’ve often witnessed the transformative nature of music. Jamie Eldridge was a 58-year-old man with Down syndrome who was suffering from advanced dementia. Near the end of his life, he experienced true joy after hearing a well-known melody he had always held dear.

Jamie was a Special Olympian, a McDonald’s employee and an active member of the local community. His mother was his primary caregiver and shortly after she passed away, Jamie was confined to a hospital bed. He was no longer mobile or vocal and was eventually admitted to St. Joe’s. However, his love for Star Wars remained strong, which was evident by his cherished Star Wars blanket and stuffie.

The Bangor Symphony Orchestra is an important part of St. Joe’s Healing Arts Program, which strives to enhance the healthcare environment and aid in the comfort and healing of patients. When orchestra members learned Jamie was a Star Wars fan and that his health was waning, they took the time to learn the Star Wars theme song, so they could play it especially for him. When Jamie heard the performance he spoke and said, “I loved it.”

Jamie’s care team was inspired by his reaction to the music and began playing more of it. Naomi Freedberg, RN, shares, “Jamie would often sing along. It was heartwarming to see. I could see the vibrancy of his soul emerging from his ill mind and body. It was a profound reminder that care extends far beyond medicine; it’s about touching hearts and igniting joy.”

The family’s gratitude for Jamie’s care was shared in his obituary, which warmly thanked St. Joe’s 6th-floor care team and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra musicians for their beautiful gift. If you’d like to learn more about St. Joseph Hospital’s Healing Arts Program, which is 100% funded by donations made by our friends, neighbors and community members, please click here.

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