Often all is takes is to hear a familiar song to brighten your day. Music can powerfully evoke emotions and memories. Because of its versatility and near constant presence in our lives and social environments, music is a useful medium for promoting and maintaining engagement in health-related activities and a providing a healing environment. Music is a whole brain activity with no specific center; with high potential for brain healing and optimization. Music can help the brain to change, no matter the age.

That’s why we at Chicago Methodist Senior Services partner with organizations such as Musicians on Call and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, which bring live musicians to perform a diverse array of styles of music to residents at CMSS communities. Hosting visits from professional groups are just one of the many ways we bring music enrichment to our care at Chicago Methodist Senior Services. We have formed the CMSS Music & Wellness Task Force to deepen our commitment to person-centered care by taking advantage of the latest research exploring the positive effects of music on brain health and general well-being by bringing diverse and exciting music programming to CMSS residents, families and staff alike. Henri Harps, our Music Programming Coordinator, shared more about the benefits of music enrichment and its value.

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 particularly beneficial with older adults. Some of the benefits of engaging with music every day include:

  • Relief from anxiety and depression
  • Increased engagement in social activities
  • Evoking memories
  • Increased happiness and overall quality of life
  • Opportunities for life-long learning and education

“[Music is] important as a spiritual tool for enlivening the human spirit in addition to providing a place of harmony between residents, family members and care staff.” Harps said.

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

What is the CMSS Music & Wellness Task Force?

The task force is comprised of several CMSS team members, including Bill Lowe, President and Chief Executive Officer; Dr. Noel DeBacker, Medical Director of Wesley Place; Rose Policarpio, Director of Nursing, Dick Wright, board member and John Gould, Director of Dining & Life Enrichment. They will be meeting quarterly to discuss how they can bring music to resident care in new and exciting ways and to encourage staff to showcase their creativity. The goals of the task force include:

  • To take advantage of the latest research exploring the benefits of music in the care environment and to incorporate music in a therapeutic way within all levels of care.
  • To develop inventive music programming and services to increase both the health and wellness of CMSS residents and to provide a diverse array of opportunities and events in which residents, family members and staff can enjoy the benefits of music.
  • To train and educate residents, family members and staff on the therapeutic benefits of music
  • To acknowledge and strengthen our musical connections throughout the Chicago community.

The CMSS Music & Wellness Task Force will also encourage staff to continue to learn about CMSS resources to bring a musical perspective into their care. We also dedicated to providing space to recognized and encourage a diverse range of interests and talents. Our Music & Wellness Task Force is excited to bring a fresh, creative approach to music enrichment and person-centered care and would love to hear your ideas and feedback.

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