Craig sent me another wonderful article on the therapeutic benefits of music called "How singing unlocks the brain", describing how singing helped an Alzheimer patient and people who suffer with Parkinson's disease.
In my family's music ministry to local nursing homes, I have seen residents who seemed locked in their own world really respond when we sang hymns or other familiar songs. On one occasion that really stands out in my memory, a woman, who appeared to be sleeping, hummed along while Clair de lune was being played on piano. She knew every note. Yet she found speaking with the staff to be almost impossible. I wonder if someone had been able to work with that dear old woman in the way that this article mentions if she might have been able to increase her ablility to communicate.