Facilitated Group Singalongs in a Retirement Home in Canada

Adler recommended that therapists and facilitators should be striving to acquire some definite artistic ability, which requires mature self-understanding, a ready wit, the ability to convince, being convinced oneself, and a willingness to cooperate. These same traits are acknowledged to play a key role in successful Person-Centered Care, increasingly seen as the ideal standard of care in retirement homes and long-term care facilities.

Guided by Adler’s recommendations and a person-centered care approach a facilitated musical singalong program for people living with dementia in a Canadian retirement home has consistently resulted in outcomes typically associated with successful musical therapy where musical memory is seen to be present leading to changes in behaviour. The guided singalong sessions involve playing well known, popular music songs available on YouTube with visible words on the TV screen to encourage and facilitate residents to participate and join in with singing themselves. When facilitating the sessions, the facilitator dances, sings, and moves to the rhythm of the music inviting the residents to join however they can. The sessions appear to create an entertaining “togetherness,” an atmosphere of wonder and expectation, of letting go to be one with the rhythm.

When listening to the music, most participants appear to positively respond to the music by singing and tapping their feet, swinging from side to side, and/or tapping their feet or moving their hands. Some participants may not show any movement or singing, but on occasion, they may suddenly get up to join the facilitator in dancing to the music. Some may get upset while listening to the music. Other staff are also encouraged to join in with a resident in dancing to the rhythm of the music.

From observations from this program, facilitating a music program using a person-center care approach may be one suitable option to support the well-being of people living with dementia residing in a long-term care facility.  

If you would like more information about this work, please visit: https://www.insidehalton.com/news/music-program-awakens-memory-in-seasons-milton-residents/article_ca9aa2a7-a3c3-5fe2-be90-0979b3ac4876.html