A spry woman who loved to dance into her 90s, Betty Reed was a powerhouse. A loyal Purdue alumna, Betty was, among her many accomplishments, one of the first women to enlist with the US Coast Guard during World War II; an Indiana farm wife and mother of three; and a well-read librarian until she retired at 75.
Betty also loved music, a passion she shared with her children. “Mom played a lot of records and we sang along,” her son Forrest recalls.
Forrest built his career in sales and marketing with the music industry at its core, settling in Sacramento, CA. But he always remained close to his mother. When her Alzheimer’s and ensuing weakness led to a series of falls that culminated in Betty’s hospitalization, Forrest flew back to Indiana. For the next six weeks, he visited his mother daily in rehab.
Inspired by Music & Memory from Alive Inside, Forrest set out to make his mother a playlist of her favorite music: Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Glenn Miller, Willie Nelson’s Stardust album, to name a few.
Finally, Forrest had to fly back home to Sacramento. A few days later, although Betty didn’t feel much like eating, she wanted to sing the Purdue fight song that brought back wonderful memories. In that moment, with her daughter Susan at her side, Betty passed at the age of 93.
To honor his mother’s memory and spread the benefits of Music & Memory near his home in Sacramento, Forrest did what he knows best—he co-produced a July 2016 jazz concert that raised $18,500. That money has helped three MUSIC & MEMORY℠ Certified Care Organizations in and around Sacramento to double their existing programs, as well as provided certification training and equipment for another eight memory care communities, including The Hearth in Indiana that cared for Betty. “Music & Memory was such a gift for me and Betty,” says Forrest. “I want to give back.”