Contra Costa nonprofit’s gift of music ‘awakens’ the minds of dementia patients

Jerome Bassinger was lying in bed watching a movie on his tablet when a nursing home employee stopped by the room with an iPod Nano.

Scrolling through one of the playlists that comprised the 692 songs stored on the device, he settled on Peggy Lee’s 1958 version of “Fever” and gently placed headphones over Bassinger’s ears.

Never know how much I love you,

Never know how much I care

When you put your arms around me

I get a fever that’s so hard to bear

Debilitating depression keeps Bassinger under the covers most of the day, but Lee’s sultry voice and finger-snapping rhythms this afternoon brought a sweet smile to the face of the torch singer’s 77-year-old fan.

“It’s remarkable the sound you get out of these (headphones),” Bassinger murmured.

“I feel uplifted. I have trouble with depression, and it helps get rid of that.”

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