Groove is in the heart when it comes to music and dance. It doesn’t matter what age you are or what your mental state is, when a good beat comes on, the feet begin to tap and the music lifts the heart.
Music and dance are so good for the soul. Locked in the memory of every person is a connection to rhythm and melody. Music has a way of altering a person’s mood, lifting spirits and bringing a smile to the face. As seniors become less physically active, they can become lost in the silence of their minds. Music and dance can promote better physical and mental health in a variety of ways.
1. It can motivate movement; even minimal movement such as tapping a foot or clapping hands is enough activity to release pent-up mental and emotional stress
2. Rekindles positive memories; music speaks to our emotions and seniors know the emotional language of music from their day and time
3. Shifts negative thinking; hearing music is a stimulus that can shift ones negative thinking patterns
4. Promotes social interaction; happy music promotes happy thoughts and also has a way of lingering in a person’s mind, it can be like a shot of Vitamin C each day
5. Can calm nervousness; some music will evoke a sense of beauty and well being.
With all of this in mind, and a desire to enhance the lives of the residents at Heaton Place, the staff came together to discuss new ideas that would promote exciting activities and give our residents a boost. And boy did it work!
Before long, the music playlist was being built, the photo booth and props were on order and the posters were being hung! A fantastic crowd attended the very first Heaton Dance.
A glass of wine, and a ‘Whole Lotta Shakin Was Going On’! The melody of Wooden Heart by Elvis Presley played and the dance floor was met by many.
“It was so wonderful to see the smiles, hear the laughter and observe the spirit of community” resident relations coordinator Carrie O’Neill said.
The buzz at Heaton over the next few days was all about the dance.
The experience as a whole taught us that there is a deep desire for many seniors to feel the magic of music – and the magic of music certainly filled the air.
Carrie O’Neill is the resident relations co-ordinator at Heaton Place in Armstrong. These are the stories of its residents.