‘Music corners’ calming Riverview Manor residents

Riverview Manor BSO team members Susanna Kelusky (left) and Logan Burrows (right) are seen here in one of the Peterborough long-term care home’s two “music corners.” The areas have CD players with soft music playing throughout each day to help calm residents affected by agitation.

Riverview Manor BSO team members Susanna Kelusky (left) and Logan Burrows (right) are seen here in one of the Peterborough long-term care home’s two “music corners.” The areas have CD players with soft music playing throughout each day to help calm residents affected by agitation.

Home’s BSO team creates program where people can listen to soft music throughout the day

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – A resident sits quietly in one of Riverview Manor’s two “music corners,” a smile on her face, her feet tapping to the cadence of Simon and Garfunkel’s Homeward Bound, which is playing softly from a nearby CD player.

Another resident suddenly stops in front of the CD player. She slowly examines the display of vinyl records hanging from the ceiling, a calm but curious look upon her face as she takes a long pause.

“This doesn’t happen very often,” registered practical nurse Susanna Kelusky says of the resident. “She wanders throughout the day.”

Kelusky is one of the Peterborough long-term care home’s Behavioural Support Ontario (BSO) team members. She, along with personal support workers Logan Burrows and Michelle Bellefontaine, began using the “music corners” last week.

“We have only had (the program running) for a couple of days now and we thought we would have to show the residents where the music was playing, but we found that the music drew the residents (to the areas),” Kelusky says.

If a resident with cognitive impairment is experiencing agitation, staff members can direct them towards the music, which has a calming effect, she adds.

“We have a certain resident who really likes jazz, and when he is upset or restless, we can direct him to the music,” Kelusky says.

In addition to the music, the corners have records on display and books with musical facts and trivia residents can enjoy.

The connection between music and calming people with dementia is well documented. Music programs are regularly offered through the home’s life enrichment department, but the BSO team wanted to implement a program where residents could listen to soft music throughout each day.

Residents were asked about their favourite music and the BSO team collected CDs donated by staff members to match residents’ choices. The team then created two areas in the home where people can gather to enjoy music – one area has pop music, the other has mainly classical and jazz.

While the program is aimed at residents who have cognitive impairment, all residents are encouraged to take time to enjoy the music.

“The corners are for anybody to enjoy,” Kelusky says.

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