Music Therapy Unlocks Memories for Baptistcare Residents

on the Monday, July 8, 2019

Music has an incredible effect on both our hearts and our minds. For seniors, particularly those living with dementia, familiar songs from times gone by can remain vivid, triggering memories in a way nothing else can.  

Leading non-profit aged care provider Baptistcare has implemented a range of music therapy programs across its residential facilities to enrich the lives of its residents.   

At Baptistcare Graceford Residential Care in Byford, residents who participate in music therapy are provided with a headset and iPod loaded with a collection of carefully curated songs. Baptistcare Graceford’s Lifestyle Coordinator, Zoey Madzongo says it’s important to select music which residents have a personal connection to.

 “Our residents and their family members help us choose music which is meaningful and connects them to their past.”

“Songs from their young adult years usually bring about the strongest response and their reactions vary depending on what memories and emotions the music has stirred,” she said.

This is seen in Baptistcare Graceford residents Alice and Barbara. When Alice’s personalised compilation of Elvis Presley songs play, she closes her eyes and remains completely still apart from her feet which tap along in time to the melody. Barbara prefers to listen to the crooners, her face beaming as she sings and dances to Frank Sinatra’s rendition of ‘You Make Me Feel So Young.’

Studies have shown music activates the parts of the brain that control movement, emotions and memories in people with dementia. Listening to music and participating in music therapy can also reduce symptoms such as depression, anxiety and agitation.

 “We have noticed the mood of our residents lift after they have taken part in music therapy, they become energised and more engaged with what’s happening around them.”

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