The sound of guitar, piano and singing can usually be heard from a room at Enliven’s Longview Home on a Monday morning.
Music therapy sessions began at the home in Tawa this year following a grant from St Joans Charitable Trust.
“It’s really proving its weight,” Longview Home manager Noelette Matthews says of the sessions so far.
“Every time I talk to the residents afterwards, they show that they enjoyed it – whether they tell me or just give me a big thumbs up or a smile.”
The group is aimed at residents who have dementia or memory loss and will run once a week for six months.
The sessions are run by music therapist Anna Sedcole, who plays the guitar and piano, and sings songs familiar to the residents.
“Anna has this amazing ability to draw the residents out and get them involved,” Noelette says.
“One resident involved was a musician in the past and I can see him getting that muscle memory back again when he’s handed an instrument, or tapping along to the rhythm.”
During a normal session, Anna will play songs and hand out percussion instruments so the residents can participate in music making.
If a resident starts reminiscing about a song, Anna will take the time and stop and ask them questions about their memories.
Noelette explains that the sessions are a way of providing the residents with meaningful and purposeful activities.
She says activities such as this are a great way to help residents to avoid the feelings of loneliness, helplessness and boredom that can be common in elders.