Did you know that seniors who socialize more have lower rates of depression, fewer complaints of pain, and slower rates of cognitive decline? Spending time with other people isn’t just nice – it’s vital for the well-being of our seniors. It’s important to create opportunities for seniors to socialize, even while continuing to honor their individual choices and preferences. There are a million ways to do this, but I’ve got one idea for you today (and it involves music!). Materials needed:
- A variety of recorded music (preferably on CDs or a digital playlist)
- A written list of what’s included in your collection, sorted by genre, song title, and artist. (This is the minimum – you may also include composer/songwriter or album title, too.) Have several copies on hand – ideally, one for each participant.
- Gather participants in as quiet a space as possible. Have participants sit in a circle or at tables facing each other.
- Pass out the song lists and invite participants to choose songs for group listening.
- Depending on the group and the music selected, you may encourage quiet, attentive listening, or you may encourage conversing or dancing while the music plays.
- Encourage conversation between songs, being sure to validate each participant’s choice.
- Schedule listening sessions based on a particular genre. For example, have a classical listening session or a country western session. It’s another way for residents to meet like-minded people.
- Recruit a resident to facilitate a listening session for his/her favorite genre.
- Combine this activity with another hands-on activity and use the music in the background. For example, participants can take turn choosing holiday songs while making holiday decorations.
- Working one-on-one? Take turns with your care recipient, letting each of you share your preferences. This will help to strengthen your relationship, too!
Other ideas for variations or how to make this successful? Please share!