The calming sounds of music for dementia

The calming sounds of music for dementia

Headphones that play a resident’s choice of music are making a big difference to people with dementia and pain, calming them and taking them back to the good times they remember.
At Maddocks Gardens in Bairnsdale, staff and residents welcomed the delivery of 15 more headphones on Monday from Bairnsdale Sunrise Rotary, which will allow more people to take part in the Music for Dementia program.
For Maddocks Gardens resident Jim Fulton, the music makes him feel “happy and relaxed” and upon wearing one of the headsets, his foot immediately started tapping and his smile widened.
The headphones have a selection of the resident’s choice including jazz or classical, relaxation, ballet or country music saved to an SD card in the headset.
A survey is conducted to find out which music each resident enjoys, or what they don’t enjoy, in case a certain song or type of music isn’t so good for them.
“Jim gets a lot of benefit from the headphones,” lifestyle department diversional therapist, Kate Churches, said.
“Music has a huge impact, particularly on those who are distressed or in pain. It’s an amazing difference.”
“The program is such an asset to us,” added aged care manager, Paul Rosenquist.
Ms Churches was introduced to the music for dementia program by local lady Lorna Prendergast, who completed a masters degree in ageing, and has partnered with Sunrise Rotary to supply headphones to Maddocks Gardens.
Following a successful trial, playlists of their favourite music have been constructed for residents at Sutherland Lodge. East Gippsland Shire and Bairnsdale Sunrise Rotary have supplied a further grant for headsets for dementia patients.
President of Bairnsdale Sunrise Rotary, John Fallon, delivered another 15 headsets to Sutherland Lodge and said it was lovely to see the enjoyment the music gave the patients, their smiling faces and fingers tapping to the tunes showed that they were enjoying a better quality of life. “It is hoped to involve other nursing homes in the district, and to do a small trial for couples, where dementia patients are still living at home,” Lorna said.
“It is essential that the music constructed for the playlists is of an individual choice. Just listening to whatever music that comes along does not have the same impact on the brain, songs loved when young revive memories and have a calming effect that helps patients cooperate more readily with their carers.
“As music covers all parts of the brain, it is also valuable for people who suffer extreme dementia.”
Mrs Prendergast featured in the Seniors Magazine in last week’s edition of the Advertiser.

IMAGE:
Maddocks Gardens aged care manager, Paul Rosenquist, Bairnsdale Sunrise Rotary’s John Fallon, resident Jim Fulton with some new earphones, diversional therapist in the lifestyle department, Kate Churches, and Sunrise Rotary’s Luke Smeaton. K87-4510


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