Let the Music Play
Imagine for a moment that it’s 1983 again and you’re dancing the night away, grooving to the hit dance single “Let the Music Play” by Shannon. For many of us, this hit single brings back fond memories, and the chorus is probably running through your mind as you read this. Intuitively, we know the power that music has - when we hear a certain song, and it can be different for each of us – memories of people, places, and important times are recalled.
Scientists, researchers and therapists have long known that music has both physiological and psychological effects on people. Yet the real power of music in improving mental health is just now being explored. The news is encouraging.
Here at Kingsway Community our team of knowledgeable and caring nurses, certified nursing assistants, case managers and music therapists know the positive benefits of music. That’s why we incorporate personalized music therapy into our resident’s structured care plans, as well as our diverse array of life enrichment activities. The results? Improved social engagement and intellectual responsiveness, along with reduced anxiety, stress and feelings of depression.
Norene Braun, Kingsway Arms Skilled Nursing Facility board-certified music therapist has first-hand experience in the positive role music plays in maintaining an individual's highest level of functioning and quality of life: “Music has a way of creating a connection with someone when it doesn’t seem like a connection is still possible. This is especially gratifying for residents’ family members who tell us they have seen a positive change in their loved one’s emotions, personality and expression.”
As a caregiver, you and your loved one can benefit from a better understanding of the power of music:
- Music is woven in and closely tied to key experiences throughout our lives and in many forms. Personally meaningful music can “light up the brain” and provide your loved one with positive intellectual stimulation. Our staff of music therapists are experts in music history and take care to incorporate music that is meaningful and significant to each resident in our care.
- Music memory is stored in a part of the brain that is typically not affected in the early stages of the most common dementia diseases. A loved one living with dementia is regularly faced with a world that is unfamiliar to them, hearing personally meaningful music can tap into and stimulate parts of their brain that continue to function.
- A loved one who has trouble recalling names and memories from the past may be able to sing along to every verse of a familiar song from long ago. What’s more, playing music together can provide a way to connect with loved ones — especially those who have difficulty communicating in other ways.
- Music is a naturally-grounding, time-oriented medium useful in redirection and establishing focus. So, playing familiar music can be very helpful when your loved one is experiencing some of the anxiety and agitation related to confusion and disorientation.
- Techniques like relaxation chaining, in this case the creation of a continual flow of music with a similar, calming tempo, can be useful in sustaining a peaceful, calming atmosphere, especially when a combined with personally meaningful playlist.
- Music is a universally valued form of expression, and it facilitates connections and shared, quality time with friends, family and care givers. Visit musictherapy.org for more information on the beneficial effects of music.
At Kingsway Community we believe the comfort of familiarity is a key element in providing care, and music therapy is just one of we ways our team works to ensure an individual's highest level of functioning and quality of life. Our knowledgeable staff are here to provide support and assistance at any time, and they are ready to adapt to changing care needs as they develop. We recognize that each resident is different, and our individualized care plans are designed to recognize this, across our full continuum of care. To learn more about our full continuum of care and services, as well as the many diversified social and intellectual life enrichment programs we offer across our 25-acre campus, please come for a tour or speak with a Senior Living Specialist at 518-393-8800.