Music Brings Joy To Nursing Homes
It’s well known that music is one of the great joys of life. A simple tune can evoke feelings in someone, completely unrelated to the type of music. A favourite pop tune from your youth, for example, can transport you back to that time, even years later, when grey hair and sensible shoes have replaced the slicked back quiff and tight jeans that were once your style. This fact – that music can trigger long-forgotten memories – is now being used in nursing homes and private care homes in order to aid those who are suffering from some form of memory loss.
Music Therapy for a New Era
Modern technology makes access to music much easier, with some calling this particular application of the healing power of music ‘iPod therapy’. We’ve all found ourselves singing along to music that we had long forgotten, and those first few bars bring the lyrics flooding back into our minds, the instant we hear them. Once those memories are unlocked, we can often then remember other things that are linked to that era; the looks, sounds, smells and people who we associate with a particular time and place. Neurons fire and awaken memory pathways in the brain that may have been forgotten, locked away and unable to be accessed without that special trigger.
Traditional Music Plays Its Part
It’s not just electronic devices that can provide this form of therapy for nursing home residents. Whether the music comes via an iPod or in the form of musicians and singers is not as important as music that is familiar to those who need this form of therapy. Often, live music can reach someone where a recording may not, especially when the musician can take specific requests or can slow down the tune in order to enable the audience to join in at their own pace. Live music is not just a form of memory aid, but can bring joy to the lives of those living in a care environment, whether that be in nursing homes or care homes in West Sussex. One performer, a Welsh harpist, performs for care residents in Wales, telling Classic FM that the joy he sees in the faces of the residents for whom he performs brings a tear to the eye.
As a greater understanding of the benefits of music therapy is reached, whether delivered via iPod or in a more traditional manner, it is clear that the a way forward to make the lives of residents in any nursing home more enjoyable. It could be a way of reaching those who suffer from memory loss, or it could be simply a way to bring a smile to residents’ faces. In any case, something that can only be beneficial is definitely something that should be made available to all.