Music provides stimulation and cues that can aid in memory retention and recall. Studies show that daily exposure to familiar music can alter functional brain connectivity and improve cognitive responses, attention, and focus. St. John’s music therapist Amanda Wick visits each center to play her guitar and sing with the participants. Amanda’s experience working with older adults allows her to create opportunities for movement, share memories of the song and their memory associated with that song, give choices, and enable a participant to share his story. St. John’s Community Care participants sing solos, duets, play instruments, and move to the rhythm.
Participants actively engaged in music-making by singing, clapping, dancing, and playing instruments have improved social awareness, interpersonal connections, and behaviors. Agitation, depression, restlessness, distress, repetitive acts, etc., can be decreased with music engagement.
“ I have personally witnessed positive outcomes from Amanda’s music sessions. Participants have improved mood, verbal communication, and engagement in the movement to the music. One participant walked in the door on a Wednesday and asked, “Is this the day the music lady comes?” Music connects us on many levels, which is evident because the staff and participants are experiencing group cohesiveness,“ said Stacey Rhodes