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Music therapy unlocks long lost memories

Silent discos have been all the rage with our Feros Village residents, with senior groovers taking to the headphones in a ground-breaking program that is awakening long lost memories. Over the last week, they also got to enjoy more of music, with the local Stone & Wood Brewery team visiting the Wommin Bay Feros Village for an afternoon of karaoke.

Feros Care had established silent discos – a form of music therapy – across its Bangalow and Wommin Bay villages and it has had incredible results, particularly for those with dementia.

Residents were given a headset, which played popular music from their past, helping to tap into areas of their brain that other therapies could not.

According to staff working in the residential villages, there are residents who have not spoken a full sentence in years, but when the music comes on, they start to sing the words and it brings up memories for them they otherwise cannot seem to access.

Instead of coming to an aged care village and being nursed, we want to offer residents the opportunity to continue to try things they have never done before.

How does music therapy work for seniors?

Music is increasingly being used in memory research, especially in the aged care sector. Research suggests the link between music and memory is particularly strong because it has the ability to activate large areas of the brain, including the auditory, motor and emotional regions.

The motor areas process the rhythm, the auditory areas the sound, while the limbic regions are associated with the emotions.

“With the change in behaviour and sudden enjoyment we see once the music starts, there is definitely something going on there,” said a Feros Care employee.

“It does not take much for the residents to be up on their feet and dancing like they did when they were younger. Even those who can no longer walk sometimes stand-up out of their wheelchairs and get into the movement – it is just amazing.”

Interestingly, the therapy does not end when the music stops.

“The greatest impact we have seen is on the people who are not able to communicate ordinarily.

“There were two residents who, after the therapy, were able to talk for the rest of the day.

“We do also find their general mood is elevated for around two days after the sessions.

“During this time, we have been thrilled to see family come in and have the opportunity to talk to their parent for the first time in ages, after the music therapy.”

A day of beer and karaoke for our aged-care residents

To build onto these experiences, Feros Village Wommin Bay residents enjoyed a day filled with happy hour drinks and karaoke songs alongside the Stone & Wood team.

The karaoke machine belted out everything from Frank Sinatra to Britney Spears as residents and the brewery workers joined together for a day of singing, dancing and friendship.

The Stone & Wood Brewery team volunteered their time and donated beer to brighten the day of residents at Feros Village Wommin Bay.

Feros Village Wommin Bay positive living assistant Lisa Burnie said the Stone & Wood team were so genuine in their interactions that they had already made plans to return.

“The Stone & Wood team brought a huge injection of energy and good vibes and our residents are still buzzing from it,” she said.

“It was just beautiful to see a big wave of youth breathe new life into the place.”

Stone & Wood Communications and Community Engagement Manager, Jasmin Daly said her team got more out of it than they put in.

“We left the Feros Village on Thursday with full hearts. The team got so much out of spending time with the residents and I feel like they did too. We’re all inspired to continue doing it,” she said.

Like after each silent disco, residents were buzzing for days afterwards.
Seniors and volunteers singing karaoke

Grow bold with Feros Care

Music therapy is just one part of the ‘grow bold’ culture at Feros Care.

We are trying to find all sorts of avenues for residents to experience something new during this chapter in their lives.

Instead of coming to an aged care village and being nursed, we want to offer residents the opportunity to continue to try things they have never done before.

Ready to join the adventure and enter one of our Residential Villages? Click here to see why you should choose Feros Care.

Are you more of a dancer than a singer? See our Bold Ballerinas project here.

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