Musical programs get Springdale residents engaged and reminiscing

Residents affected by cognitive impairment are receiving positive social results from activities that focus on familiar tunes, says LEC

Almost everyone has a strong connection to music, and hearing familiar tunes is often a way to engage people living with cognitive impairment in a meaningful way that they enjoy, says Springdale Country Manor life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Sonia Murney.

Sonia says the life enrichment department at the Peterborough-area long-term care home has a variety of programs centred on music that create positive outcomes for residents.

Say it with Music is an example of one such program, Sonia says.

During this program, the life enrichment team member leading the activity will trigger memories by reciting the words to a song or jingle residents will be able to recall. Residents will then be encouraged to finish the line.

For instance, if the line “you are my sunshine” is sung, the residents will respond with “my only sunshine.” If the theme of the program is on commercial jingles, the staff member might begin with Alka-Seltzer’s “plop, plop, fizz, fizz” with residents chiming in, “oh, what a relief it is.”

Sonia says residents get involved with this activity because it brings them back to another time in life.

“Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring back memories,” the LEC says. “Music is a part of everyone’s life, whether you know it or not.”

As a result of participating in these programs, residents are often more talkative and social, Sonia says.

“Music can be used to change moods, handle stress-related behaviour and encourage positive interactions with others.”

The OMNIway is speaking with a variety of caregivers who support residents who have dementia about effective strategies and activities.

January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

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