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Music Tunes Up the Wellness of Seniors

Music is magic.
It is a soothing balm for old wounds, a creative tool for self-expression, a profound elixir for any number of medical conditions, and a potent mood booster for anyone, any age, any day.
For seniors, music is particularly golden. It can help improve their attitude and it paves the way for important socialization. It requires little effort, skill or cost and provides boundless entertainment and joy.
At AgeCare, music is a highly prized activity, offered in various forms at all locations.
AgeCare Orchard Manor in Brooks, Alberta offers regular music programs including acapella sing-alongs, and musical entertainment featuring singers and instrumental performers.
“I read somewhere that music is the glue that holds our memories together – it helps, even people with cognitive impairments, to recall memories that might otherwise be lost,” said Kelsey Burnat, one of two recreation therapists at AgeCare Orchard Manor.
Besides the cognitive benefits, the recreation team at AgeCare Orchard Manor is sold on the emotional benefits of offering music on their activity roster. “The residents who participate in our musical programs are joyful, as we can see from their sunny dispositions and smiling faces,” said Janet Lawrence, also on the team.
At AgeCare Governor’s Walk in Ottawa, music is more than a program, it is part of everyday life as detailed by activities coordinator, Rosal Yade.
“Just like in any home, we have music readily available for anyone. Our piano in the Dining Room is accessible and often played by our residents at their own time and leisure. We also have residents who request music daily and we play it for them as they wish, through YouTube,” said Rosal.
Governor’s Walk also offers Hymn Singing, a resident-led choir, Latin Chair Exercises that involve seated dance movements to upbeat music and rhythms, and a Music Generation Class that unites the seniors with families in the community.
“Our instructor brings in families from the surrounding community, and so you have adults, toddlers, babies and our residents enjoying a music class together,” said Rosal. “The families have a unique chance to bond with our residents through music and our residents feel empowered for helping in this incredible initiative, all while benefiting themselves.”
Indeed, research indicates that music offers innumerable benefits for seniors. It has even been studied as a tool to aid with grief, combat depression and positively impact the symptoms of dementia.
On another note, for seniors who are less vocal, or less apt at communicating, music can be a perfect way to connect and share.
Perhaps Hans Christian Andersen summed it up it best … “Where words fail, music speaks.”