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Music makes a world of difference to the elderly

Aged Care Music Resources

From the publisher of Musical Armchair Travels

Executive producer: Graeme Pope - 17th October 2017

Making this project a reality has been a lengthy process involving rigorous planning, testing and review by many professionals in the Australian aged care industry. More than five years in the making, the final product is a unique two-in-one resource that is both a training module for practitioners, as well as a tool to assist staff whose job it is to run therapeutic musical activity sessions with their elderly clients.

Long-term projects like this don’t happen without an enormous behind-the-scenes effort from a dedicated group of people motivated by a total belief in its value. So with that in mind, I’d like to thank some of those people now.

Enormous thanks goes to Colette Baya, Ruth Wilson, Jennifer Inchley and Leonie Bell, all of whom are highly experienced and qualified aged care professionals in their fields of diversional therapy,health and lifestyle. Without them, this resource would never have materialised.

Thanks also to Ian Skurrie for his relentless commitment to the training DVD, and to Carol Brett and Danielle Beiermann for their work on designing and editing the publication.

In order to meet the professional standards required of a training resource, I’m so thankful for the advice and guidance of Ruth Wilson,Jennifer Inchley and Jeff Kirkland who are all accredited Level 4 trainers.

As we were nearing the completion phase of this project, we were honoured to receive the support of Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, former Governor of NSW, who kindly wrote the Foreword as a means of endorsing this project and the work we do. She shares our passion for music as a healer and restorer of happiness and well being.

I am also indebted to the late John Sidney for his beautiful piano music, and forever grateful for the musical talents and versatility of Barry Hall OAM. Barry has tailored the music in this package to suit each Musical Armchair Travels journey, incorporating instruments into each recording to match the culture of the country being visited.

In Musical Armchair Travels, we believe we have produced a valuable tool you will use in your musical activity programs for many years to come. It is another music resource born out of numerous requests from managers and those involved with delivering lifestyle and activities programs to our elders in care.

There are various ways an armchair travels session can be conducted, however, in our DVD we demonstrate an armchair travels session using music. Music is such a powerful medium that, when correctly managed in any activity, can impact positively on quality of life for those living in aged care, and especially those with symptoms of dementia.

Most people only have their memories when they enter residential care, and the aim of Musical Armchair Travels is to encourage group participation by stimulating fond memories of travel experiences with the correct application of the right music, which we all know,has proven to be a most effective tool for evoking memories.

Graeme Pope

Director, Aged Care Music Resources

Meet The Team

About The Presenters

Colette Baya

Activities Coordinator

Colette is the Armchair Travels program developer, and a practicing lifestyle coordinator working with dementia clients in Victoria. A former teacher and radio broadcaster, she is passionate believer in the healing power of music and over the past 15 years has developed a range of music based activity programs to suit her elderly clients' musical and cultural traditions. Colette was born on the island of Mauritius and migrated in Australia in1986.

Professor Henry Brodaty

Scientia Professor of Ageing and Mental health, University of NSW

Professor Henry Brodaty, AO, MB, BSc, MD, DSc, FRACP, FRANZCP, is Scientia Professor of Ageing and Mental health, University of New South Wales, and consultant Psychogeriatrician (Aged Care Psychiatry) and Head of the Memory Disorders Clinic at the Prince of Wales Hospital, NSW. He is also Director of the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre (Assessment and Better Care) and Co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing at UNSW. Professor Brodaty reveals what research says about the benefits of music for sufferers of dementia.

Dr Heather Hill

Dementia-care Consultant

Dr Heather Hill, PhD, DTAA (professional member). Dr Hill is a consultant in dementia and an aged care and dance-movement therapist. She has worked for almost 30 years in the field of dementia, and lectured in dance therapy, creative arts therapy and arts-based inquiry.

Ruth Wilson

Training consultant

Ruth Wilson, is a life member of Diversional Therapy Australia and has a Cert IV in Training and Assessment. In 2006 she was awarded the Fay Bainbridge Memorial Award in recognition for her outstanding contribution to the profession of Diversional Therapy in Western Australia. From 2001 to 2011 she was employed by a residential aged care provider as Diversional Therapist, coordinating a team of therapy staff in the provision of quality leisure and lifestyle programs to people living in three facilities. She is currently employed as consultant and trainer for AutumnCare Systems, which provides software programs to the aged care industry. Ruth outlines the four steps of successful documentation. These steps will help you show compliance, evaluate the effectiveness of your Musical Armchair Travels program and improve your practice.

Michael Mildren

Music Practitioner

Michael Mildren is music practitioner who, for the past 22 years, has used music to bring joy to the lives of elderly people living in aged care homes in Melbourne. In 2014 Michael was featured on the ABC program Compass, in a moving story titled Twilight Songs. The program showed how music can rekindle emotions and reawaken memories in people with dementia. It followed Michael in his work with the elderly and demonstrated how he achieved a level of connection which brought people with dementia into the present and improved their quality of life. In the Armchair Travels DVD Michael explains why including age-appropriate music is so important to your repertoire of activities.

Training And Resource Program Development

Colette Baya

Armchair Travels program developer, Activities Coordinator, Former radio presenter, Former School teacher

Ruth Wilson

Training consultant, Life member of DTA, Cert IV in Training & Assessment

Jennifer Inchley

Lyfestyle & Activities Coordinator, Advanced Diploma Community Management Aged Care, Cert IV in Training & Assessment
Leonie Bell

Leonie Bell

Lyfestyle & Activities Coordinator, Batchelor of Health Science (Leisure and Health)

Training DVD

Ian Skurrie

Videocentric MD, Film producer, developer and editor, Head Cameraman

Jeff Kirkland

Southern Creative MD, Cameraman, Cert IV in Training & Assessment


Barry Hall OAM

Musical Director EvergreenMelodies, Ran the top-rated radio program on Radio 5DN for 20 years, Mr Music on the Channel 9 Children's Show


Carol Brett

Carol Brett, Copywriter & Editor, Director Spinnaker Media, Former Managing Editor for Better Homes & Gardens magazine

Graphic Design

Danielle Beiermann

Illustration and Design
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