Here, Collette Baya, the program developer for Musical Armchair Travels, herself a Lifestyle and Activities Coordinator, shares her experiences of the positive effects she has discovered in using the music of John Sidney and Barry Hall in her work.
Studies have shown that exposure to music they know and love can revitalise the brain function of the elderly, even those with advanced dementia. Collette stresses the importance of providing music the residents can connect with in order to evoke memories of good times and a familiar cultural era, as a means of encouraging both mental stimulation and physical exercise.
Music therapy in Collette’s experience, is about using the right music at the right time for the right group of people. Many of the challenges facing the aged care industry today are both generational and cultural, as staff engaged in care often have little or no knowledge of the background of the generation of people they are caring for. Due to this gap, although recognising the value of music therapy for the elderly, lifestyle and activities staff may struggle to select music which is age appropriate and relevant. It is not enough to play just any music; it needs to hold meaning for the listeners.
The benefits of music in dementia care is the primary reason behind the existence of Aged Care Music Resources. For many years we have been aware of the way in which the right music, correctly managed, can impact positively on quality of life for our elders in care. Collette recognises the fact that the music of John Sidney and Barry Hall, as compiled into our Aged Care Music Resources program, perfectly captures the cultural background and history of those in care, not only through the tunes, but also the style in which they are played, bringing a spark of joy to the listeners.
The following videos are clips taken from the Musical Armchair Travels training DVD.
Collette discusses the joy of connection with the music of John Sidney and Barry Hall OAM: