With one in eight baby boomers expected to develop Alzheimer’s, care giving communities must continue to pursue ways to reach people where they are through music, art, athletics, pet therapy and even the way we use language.
No truer example of how music can touch detached residents than in a YouTube video called, “Old Man In Nursing Home Reacts To Hearing Music From His Era” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKDXuCE7LeQ. (Get ready for the tear ducts to start flowing!) This video has been viewed over an astonishing 6 million times. Obviously, loved ones and care providers are actively engaged in learning more about inspiring therapies as an instrumental addition to their care giving programs.
“Measure of the Heart: Caring for a Parent with Alzheimer’s,” is a memoir by author, broadcaster and former jazz singer, Mary Ellen Geist. She writes she always found a song to sing to her father at the start or the end of his day.
“Music changed everything in the way I was able to communicate with my father,” she said. “It made him come alive. I don’t know how it worked in the brain, but music seemed to cue him to wake up; he would remember verses, sing entire songs. It elevated his mood, but when he was done he didn’t remember what he did.”
We have found that Retirement Communities of every level use music as a part of their regular programing, including Adult Care Homes, which most people are not aware of. The key being “from their era” or “age appropriate” music. The music must mean something to the people hearing it. Won’t it be interesting to see how that changes as the different generations age?
At GPS we always make site visits to facilities prior to showing them to our clients. It’s imperative to provide our client’s with the opportunity to participate in daily activities and interests. We know they can vary greatly from facility to facility and it’s clear to see and compare their offerings. As communities continue to embrace new ways of engaging their residents we look forward to telling you more about who is putting forth such programs.
by Cherie Henry and Diane Delaney of Golden Placement Services at goldenplacements.com