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West Lake LEC underscores the positive impact music is having on residents

‘When we have music entertainers, that always gets everyone going, and music is something everyone enjoys’

Since in-house musical entertainment has returned to West Lake Terrace, life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) David Forsyth says residents have enjoyed getting back into the groove.

Music-based activities, he says, are programs everyone at the Prince Edward County long-term care home enjoys.

“When we have music entertainers, that always gets everyone going, and music is something everyone enjoys,” David tells The OMNIway.

With pandemic protocols relaxing, in-house entertainment has returned to West Lake Terrace this year and residents have been flocking to the performances the home hosts.

In fact, David has booked three entertainers for the coming month to meet the residents’ entertainment needs.

West Lake Terrace has a long-standing group of entertainers who have become well known to residents, but residents are also open to new entertainers, David notes.

Sometimes residents are the source of ideas.

For instance, a resident recently approached David to recommend a singer-guitarist who performed at the home a few years back, so David took the resident up on their offer.

“I called that gentleman and he has agreed to come in,” the LEC says.

Music has long been an important tool used to enhance quality of life for long-term care home residents. Music can be uplifting and bring back fond memories.

For those residents living with cognitive impairment, music can be relaxing and calm agitation.

David says he has seen first-hand the benefits music can provide residents. Right after an entertainer performs, a positive vibe will resonate at the home, he says.

“(Music) will just put people in a good mood.”

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Let’s dance: Burnbrae music program gets residents moving

The Music Appreciation program is providing residents with exercise, reminiscing and lots of fun and laughter

Since Burnbrae Gardens started a multifaceted music program six months ago, residents of the Campbellford, Ont. long-term care home have been benefiting from the joys music brings as well as from more exercise, increased happiness and lots of reminiscing.

The Music Appreciation program is the brainchild of life enrichment aide Shawna Booth, who started the program in September to provide residents with activities they enjoy while adhering to safety protocols in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Music brings a lot of joy into people’s lives, and I was thinking this was something that was lacking because of (the pandemic), so that was the main inspiration,” Shawna says.

The program, which Shawna hosts every Thursday, varies from week to week. Each week there’s a different musical theme, from golden oldies to country classics to jazz.

Residents gather in small, physically distanced groups while music is played. Often, Shawna leads residents in exercises they can do standing or sitting.

“Sometimes we do activities where residents can dance in their chair for exercise where there are movements to go along with the songs, (and) sometimes we will play songs that will get residents reminiscing,” Shawna says, adding residents recently enjoyed reminiscing about songs they remembered hearing at weddings and other events.

Shawna says she has also played relaxing music while leading residents in chair yoga exercises.

A major benefit Shawna says she has seen from the Music Appreciation program is increased participation. While some residents are not interested in games or bingo, virtually everyone loves music.

As a result, several residents who normally don’t participate in programs are attending this activity every week, she says.

But perhaps the greatest benefit Shawna is seeing from residents is an elevated mood accompanied by lots of laughter.

“That’s always good because laughter is the best medicine, and of course reminiscing is helpful with memory and cognition, and we do a lot of reminiscing,” she says.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.