Frost Manor residents ‘drumming up’ some fun in new program

DROM program combines music, exercise and meditation

Frost Manor residents have been “drumming up” some fun and exercise in recent months.

In March, Amy Whitehead, who was then a life enrichment aide, participated in an online training session with then-life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Lyndsay Burton to learn about the DROM program and bring it back to the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home’s residents.

The name DROM is derived from merging drumming techniques with the meditation chant called the “om”.

Each session starts with a focus on breathing to relax everyone and get participants ready. The second segment is the “energized portion” where multiple songs for the drumming session are performed by residents beating drumsticks on stability balls to the beat of songs Amy, who is now the Frost Manor LEC, plays for them. The final segment, the “calming portion”, focuses on positive affirmation and meditation.

Amy says the program, which is held in small groups to adhere to protocols in place to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a big hit with residents.

“Everyone goes away feeling good and can carry on with their day on a positive note,” she tells The OMNIway.

Amy teaches residents different drumming patterns and techniques, and residents beat their drumsticks on the stability balls to the rhythm of songs.

“For one song, I got them to use their drumsticks (to the rhythm of) a song that had a trumpet session in it,” Amy says. “You can really get creative with all the different ways that you can drum.”

The timing of the program has been important, Amy says.

Before the pandemic was declared in March 2020, Frost Manor was hosting up to three live performances from local entertainers every week. Due to provincial restrictions, the home has not been able to have indoor entertainment since the pandemic began.

However, the music component of the DROM program is helping meet residents’ musical needs, Amy says.

“We really wanted to get something that we could do for them that would incorporate music because they’re really missing that,” she says.

“It was really great to be able to bring back some type of musical program for them, as well as an exercise program to get everyone moving. Everybody can laugh and have fun and, of course, this really amps up the positivity as well.”

The program is being held once every two weeks. Currently, Amy hosts the program, but two life enrichment aides have expressed interest in being trained to lead the activity. Once they are trained, Amy says she hopes to offer the program more often.

Given the DROM program’s success, Amy says she would recommend it to other long-term care homes.

“If you love music and you’re a fun and positive person, I absolutely recommend it to everybody.”

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