Washington University Performs For Brooking Park’s Memory Care Household

08On behalf of our seniors, thank you to Washington University and their inspiring Arts & Sciences program for singing for Brooking Park’s Memory Care Household! Our residents formed the first ever live audience for many of the passionate student performers — we’re so honored!

Organizers Lynn Hamilton, Christine Armistead, and Jennifer Gartley developed the Come Sign With Us program to keep seniors diagnosed with dementia socially engaged. The last time Brooking Park collaborated with Washington University’s president of Maturity and Its Muse, Lynn Hamilton, was 2013, when Brooking Park residents participated in the KARE study (read more).

We often emphasize the therapeutic powers of music (see ‘Brooking Park’s Music Therapy Program Enriches Lives Of Older Adults‘). We look forward to the Spring performance and our community also hopes this “will be a continuing series of events that bring together seniors and music students.”

Pick up the latest copy of Wash U’s campus newspaper The Source, or enjoy Liam Otten’s lovely write up online here.

The Importance of Pets

Those of us who are pet owners all know how important pets are to our lives. Their unconditional love and affection brings out our instincts for nurturing, and provides enrichment to daily life.

But pets are more than just important family members. They can actually help to reduce stress and possibly even risk for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, pet ownership seems to be associated with a reduction in heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Dog ownership in particular may also help with reducing obesity by encouraging owners to stay active – Your furry friend most likely needs to go for regular walks. Owning a dog can be particularly beneficial to seniors who may feel lonely, as owning a dog often leads to socializing with other pet owners when taking it for walks or visiting the dog park.

For seniors who may not be able to leave home as easily, caring for a pet can help fight against depression. A pet can be a constant companion who is always there for you, helping to prevent isolation and loneliness.
We invite you to have your small pet live with you at Brooking Park. Small dogs are always allowed, with no extra deposit required.

Brooking Park’s Music Therapy Program Enriches Lives Of Older Adults

Music Therapy Use Growing In Retirement Communities
(CHESTERFIELD, Missouri /February 6, 2012) – Brooking Park resident Patrick Elder, 83, sings songs – not just for fun, but because it’s good for his health. For older adults, music therapy enhances their quality of life, helping them maintain key functioning skills and stimulating their mind, according to Amy Roberts, Brooking Park’s Music Therapist.

For Elder, music therapy lifted his spirits after losing his wife last year. “When Amy does musical matching games and asks questions, that’s fun,” said Elder, who even meets with Roberts one-on-one to chat about Big Band music, his favorite genre. “When I first came to Brooking Park I was depressed. If it wasn’t for the people in the Activities Department, I would be in depression again.”

Roberts uses well-known classics such as “Blue Moon” and “What a Wonderful World” to bring smiles to more than 180 residents who call Brooking Park home. Roberts looks for facial expressions, physical reactions – if they’re joining in, engaging or clapping, learning the rhythm and singing along. Other cues, such as an improvement in alertness and mood, also showcase the benefits.

“We just have a lot of fun. Some things challenge our minds a bit, which is great,” said Dolores Scholl, 73, a resident for the past 3 years. “We do things as a group and I am very seldom in my apartment.”

Roberts has a bachelor’s of science in Music Therapy from Maryville. Music therapy at Brooking Park also includes activities that enhance memory, alleviate pain, and create an outlet for elders to express their feelings.

“Music Therapy is so crucial to our activity program. Music sparks such happy and sometimes bittersweet memories in a person’s life and takes them back to important events in their lives,” said Donna Mattingly, Director of Activities at Brooking Park. “Our current Music Therapy program led by our wonderfully talented Music Therapist is creative, interactive and educational and is so much more than just listening to music.”

There are many recent studies and facts on the benefits of music therapy for seniors, according to the American Music Therapy Association website, MusicTherapy.org:

  • Music therapy reduces depression among older adults.
  • Music experiences can be structured to enhance social/emotional skills, to assist in recall and language skills and to decrease problem behaviors.
  • Individuals in the late stages of dementia respond to and interact with music.

Join us for our weekly music therapy events and find out more on this growing trend for older adults.