Sometimes, all it takes to brighten your day is a street musician playing your favorite song. Live music can evoke positive emotions and memories. That’s why we partner with organizations like Musicians on Call and the Songs By Heart Foundation, which bring live musicians to perform for residents at our communities.

Hosting visits from professional music groups are just one of the ways we bring music to our care at Chicago Methodist Senior Services. Our brand new Music & Medicine Task Force plans to take our music enrichment programming even further. Henri Harps, our Music Programming Coordinator, shared more about the benefits of music enrichment and how our Music & Medicine Task Force is making it a bigger part of care at CMSS.

What is the value of music enrichment in senior care?

Music can be therapeutic for everyone, and can be particularly beneficial for people with memory loss. Some of the benefits of engaging with music every day include:

  • Relief from anxiety and depression
  • Increased engagement in social activities and conversations
  • Evoking memories
  • Increased happiness and overall quality of life

“[Music is] important as a spiritual tool and for really enlivening the human spirit,” Harps said.

When CMSS staff members are trained in the benefits of music enrichment, they can bring that knowledge to their caregiving. Our new Music & Medicine Task Force is actively developing programs that will bring the benefits of music enrichment to CMSS residents and team members alike.

What is the Music & Medicine Task Force?

The task force is made up of several CMSS team and board members, including Bill Lowe, President and Chief Executive Officer; Dr. Noel DeBacker, Medical Director of Wesley Place and John Gould, Director of Dining & Life Enrichment. Once a month, they meet about how they can bring music to resident care in new ways and how to encourage staff to showcase their talents and creativity.

Bringing music to residents every day can include:

  • Providing headphones and a media player for every resident. This way, residents can privately listen to music based on their own unique tastes, whenever they want.
  • Creating playlists that are personally meaningful. Residents can start their day off right by listening to songs they enjoy, which can impact their mood all day.
  • Thinking of creative ways each individual would enjoy music most. Taking a resident to see a live performance or showing them a new song they’d like could make their day.

The Music & Medicine task will devote music resources to our staff, and has plans for organizing musical groups and events. We are dedicated to providing space to recognize and encourage diverse interests and talents. We will also encourage staff to continue to learn about CMSS resources they can use to bring more music to their care.

Our Music & Medicine Task Force is excited to bring a more creative approach to music enrichment and person-centered care at CMSS and would love to hear your ideas.

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