Music is the universal language which reaches into the heart and mind. It is healing and stimulating for all ages including senior citizens. This program is a sing-along activity which Gabriella leads in retirement communities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult daycare programs. Leading songs which are familiar to the participants engages them and creates a warm group feeling.
From “You are my Sunshine” to “Down in the Valley” to “Oklahoma”, every song brings about memories, improves memory and brings smiles at the same time. Not everyone sings. That’s fine. Listening to the music also stimulates and entertains. Each person participates to their own ability.
The songs bring up natural things for the group to talk about. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” can bring up a discussion of favorite baseball teams. “Yellow Rose of Texas” leads into a discussion of where people have lived or traveled. There is so much knowledge and depth in the Senior community which is not accessed. This program helps to bring that out.
We sing in many styles, from spirituals to show-tunes to folk music to jazz. “This Little Light of Mine” may stimulate while “Danny Boy” may bring about a chance to feel loss in a natural non-verbal way. Songs people have sung at church often bring comfort like “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” or “In the Garden”. Folk songs like “Oh Suzanna” just lighten the air.
Sometimes we use percussion instruments, someone sings a solo or someone in the group joins on piano or harmonica. Whatever strengths are in the group, we can use them and improvise upon them.
Song sheets are handed out for longer songs. Reading or following along while singing is going on is also stimulating for the mind. Often we’ll see people not singing at first but joining in as the song tickles their memory. Songs are some of the last things to leave memory. So people with memory problems benefit very much from this program.
This music program helps Seniors with their mood, with their memory and with their social skills. It’s fun, light, sweet and meaningful. Music reaches out and reaches in. It’s a very special form of healing.