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,

  • 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.

The Avalon At Brooking Park – For Inez And Other Elders

(From our publication, Worry Less Times, Spring, 2011) – Inez Mixon’s face lights up when she talks about two things – her family and her stay at The Avalon at Brooking Park. The Avalon has helped make it possible for Inez to continue to enjoy her family and her life. “I love it here,” Inez said. “Everyone is so friendly and it’s made a very positive difference in how I live my life.”

Inez is one of many elders who have experienced the recuperative wonders of The Avalon, which provides Medicare Part A rehabilitation services for those recovering from injuries, medical conditions, surgery and hospitalization.

“At The Avalon, it is all about Inez; it’s about the individual, not just a broken hip or a diagnosis,” according to Amy Hitt, Health and Wellness Administrator. “Here we focus on the person and the particular therapies and care it will take for each one to get better and to reclaim the lifestyle they’re accustomed to.”

For most seniors in need of physical rehabilitation, an introduction to The Avalon begins while they are in the hospital. Mike Enlo, Medicare Admissions Coordinator, visits referred elders and their families and tells them all about it.

“There is usually a sigh of relief from seniors and their families,” Enlo said. “Because we’re already putting a plan together for them, letting them know how it works, and ensuring the transition from the hospital to The Avalon is smooth. Overcoming the unknown and providing reassurance relieves a tremendous amount of anxiety for people.”

When each new resident arrives at The Avalon an entire team of highly qualified people – from Rehabilitation Physician Dr. Bijoy Hegde to licensed nurses, therapists, dietitians, recreation specialists and spiritual advisors – are waiting and take a personal interest in each one. New and innovative therapies help speed and maximize rehabilitation. Luxury private and companion suites are warm and inviting. There are chef-prepared meals with menu options, pampering spa services, fun and meaningful recreation. And, a Wellness for Life program adds a holistic approach concentrating on the body, mind and spirit.

The average stay at The Avalon is about 21 days. During that time, while staff members are providing therapy, care and services, they are also planning for residents leaving and going home – whether that is a house in the suburbs, an apartment, retirement or long-term care senior community. The idea is to ensure the transition is smooth and successful.

“It all comes together at The Avalon,” Hitt said, “the best therapy, a person-centered care philosophy, and always the goal of the very best outcome for everyone. As with Inez, we want to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

Brooking Park’s Senior Living Counselor Chosen For Social Work Today Magazine Honor

(CHESTERFIELD, Missouri /February 6, 2011) – Brooking Park Senior Living Counselor Susan Signorino, MSW, was selected as one of 10 Dedicated and Deserving Social Workers for Social Work Today magazine.

Susan brings over 20 years of experience to her profession. She has worked previously in hospital, home care, and hospital social work. Four years ago, she came to work in St. Louis, working with caregivers for those with memory loss, veterans needing home care assistance, adult day care, and elder law.

She joined Brooking Park in October where she provides tours of their community, works with seniors being admitted to their short term Medicare rehab, assisted living, and/or skilled nursing. She also does marketing/ community relations with various health care organizations, working with health care professionals and lay people.

She created an email listserv for social workers and health care professionals about 18 years ago, where professionals can network with one another, share job openings, resumes, post case scenario questions, open houses, community events, etc.

There are over 700 members at this time. This is one of the reasons she was selected for this honor. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their 3 dogs and resides in Festus, MO.