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Bringing Joy Through Music: Supporting Seniors with Heart For Music

The Impact of Music on Seniors

Music is more than just entertainment; it's a therapeutic tool that has been shown to reduce anxiety, agitation, and depression among seniors. Especially for seniors living with dementia or other cognitive impairments, music has the power to unlock memories and emotions thought to be lost. 


Through personalized playlists, accessible outdoor instruments, and live music events, Heart For Music strives to provide those living in not-for-profit care homes access to music in all its forms.


The Heart For Music Process

The Heart For Music program aims to fill a vital gap in the often underfunded recreational departments of not-for-profit care homes; access to music. The primary way we do this, and the main focus of the program, is by making donations of music streaming equipment.


Making a donation to a care home through Heart For Music is a straightforward process designed to maximize impact:


Assessment


When a new care home joins the program the Heart For Music team works closely with staff to understand the size of the facility, their specific needs, and the current music program. This initial assessment ensures that the donated equipment aligns with the home’s requirements.


Donation


After the facility’s size and needs are determined, a donation package is put together and delivered to the care home.


An average donation package includes essential equipment such as:


  • 6 tablets with cases and screen protectors

  • 4 Bluetooth headphones

  • 2 Bluetooth speakers

  • 1 box of disposable headphone covers

  • 1 six-port USB charger

  • A 1-year subscription to a music streaming family plan



These tools are carefully chosen to facilitate both individual and group music sessions, enhancing recreational therapy programs and enabling residents to enjoy music in a way that suits their preferences and abilities.


Setup


Once the equipment is donated, our team’s staff provides support to care staff while setting up the tablets with the music streaming family plan. This plan enables music playlists to be played simultaneously on multiple tablets. Care staff and family members then collaborate to curate personalized playlists for each resident. This process involves sitting down with the resident and pulling in family members to work together in identifying favorite artists, genres, and songs. This ensures that the music resonates deeply with the individual’s personal history and preferences.


Program Expansion

Since its inception in 2019, Heart For Music has expanded significantly. Currently the program  reaches roughly 30,000 seniors in over 200 care homes across Canada. In 2023 alone, the program expanded into 79 new care homes and expanded existing programs in 25 others.


Live Music Events

In addition to donating music streaming equipment, Heart For Music organizes and sponsors live music events in the Fraser Valley, hiring musicians to perform at care homes. These events are organized in collaboration with care homes and create vibrant social atmospheres where seniors can engage with live performances. 


Seniors can experience loneliness and isolation living in care homes, and being able to clap, sing and dance together during a performance is a great way for residents to form bonds with each other, staff and family. This works to foster a sense of community and belonging for seniors, and can help make a care home feel a little more homey.


Outdoor Instruments

Lastly, Heart For Music has begun donating outdoor instruments to BC care homes. Beginning in the spring of 2024, we set-up two BC care homes with garden instruments: Villa Cathay Care Home with “The Aria” and Czorny Alzheimer Centre with “The Mushroom”.


These accessible outdoor musical instruments are featured in outdoor spaces that encourage residents to engage with music in a natural, sensory-rich environment. Such spaces not only promote physical activity and mental stimulation but also provide opportunities for residents to connect with others in a collaborative and creative setting. This allows for a combination of benefits that come from music, outdoor time, and human connection, enriching the overall quality of life for residents.



Getting Involved

Music has an incredible power to uplift, heal, and connect us through shared emotions and memories. Supporting Heart For Music means we can make a profound difference in the lives of seniors, creating moments of joy, comfort, and connection. Whether through monetary donations, volunteering, or spreading awareness, every effort counts in ensuring that more seniors across Canada have access to the joy and healing benefits of music.


To learn more about how you can support or participate in the Heart For Music program, visit https://www.heartformusicbc.com/get-involved 

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