Music is a universal language that reaches across generations, cultures and social divides. It plays a fundamental role in our lives, evoking powerful memories and emotions. Music can represent both a private joy and bring people together in unison. And significantly, research tells us, music can have a strong influence on our health and wellbeing.
Music and Music Therapy for the elderly have been proven to be helpful for seniors in residential aged care facilities, providing a positive, calming and happy experience. Music has even been shown to reduce the need for some medications and reduce pain and discomfort for some residents, including those who live with dementia.
SummitCare’s residences across Sydney and in Wallsend, Newcastle, practice a range of different forms of Music Therapy with visiting performers and musicians.
Chief Operating Officer, Michelle Sloane says that evidence shows music can decrease feelings of isolation and can be critical in rehabilitation and memory support.
Plus, she says, it’s a lot of fun!
Golden Memories Karaoke is a not-for-profit organisation that works with SummitCare’s homes to bring the pleasure of music to residents. By restoring self-confidence and providing excellent assistance with memory stimulation and social activity, Golden Memories has become an invaluable service that has provided many benefits to residents who participate.
Founded by owners Robert and Frances Ives, Golden Memories was brought to life through the feeling of helplessness when a loved family member was diagnosed with an aggressive strain of dementia and confined to a dementia wing of an aged care facility.
“We were deeply saddened by this and wanted to ensure our loved one’s stay would be not only comfortable, but one where they would still feel included and a part of a caring community, receiving an opportunity to socialise as best as possible,” says Robert.
“After many hours of research defining and developing a solid understanding of the therapeutic benefits that music and singing can bring, my wife Fran and I developed the Golden Memories Karaoke program.”
This specially developed musical activity comes alive with the songs of yesteryear through a notebook computer connected to a projector or screen. Lyrics to the songs are displayed in a large font across the screen, helping with any memory loss and supporting accessibility. This is further enhanced with a background of attractive video clips.
Invited guests and volunteers move around the room with wireless microphones to encourage sing-a-longs.
“Across the SummitCare homes, we all have the pleasure of hearing the enthusiasm resonating in the voices of both high and low care residents, as they sing along to the well-known tunes of their era,” says Robert.
“It is extremely heart-warming to see the glimmer in their eyes when they are experiencing the joys of reminiscing to their favourite songs.”
The mental stimulation of singing and enjoyment of music really helps lift the spirits of everyone, regardless of background or age. These musical moments in SummitCare really do promote golden memories that become truly special.
Michelle Sloane says that the work of Golden Memories has many benefits for her residents.
“This form of entertainment is beneficial as a stimulating interactive activity that directly involves their participation. Reminiscence therapy is an especially important component of the care for residents who live with dementia as they can be socially isolated or distressed,” she says.
“And, after all, who doesn’t love to sing their hearts out to a good old classic every now and then?”
Read more about Golden Memories https://goldenmemoriesondemand.org/