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, head of Brooking Park’s Music Therapy Program.
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. Brooking Park’s Music Therapy Program 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.