John M. Parrott Centre Creates a Music Garden for Seniors to Express Themselves, Reminisce, and Socialize

A care home that focuses on the self-fulfillment of residents has embraced music-making as a form of therapy, with impressive results. The John M. Parrott Centre is an inclusive long-term care home in rural Canada with a resident garden area that includes a Cadenza, Sunflower Petal Drum, and Freechimes.

Within the facility, a wide range of programs are available to aid the 168 residents in their exploration of musical instruments and the discovery of the joy of creating music. Additionally, music therapists are on staff to promote the use of music as a means of healing and supporting both mental and physical well-being. The center also encourages self-directed activities, which gives residents a sense of independence.

Amanda Sparkes, the Resident Services Coordinator, is delighted with how the instruments have been embraced by their community, saying, “The instruments give our residents an opportunity to experience another form of self-expression, reminiscing, and socialization.”

Amanda continues, “We have observed residents having fun, expressing feelings, with social interactions amongst residents of all abilities. The social interactions have led residents to reminisce and tap into their memories, expressing this through rhythmic foot tapping and singing which has assisted with improving in concentration and coordination.”

The musical instruments provide a delightful and engaging platform for residents, staff, visitors, and families to come together and play and create music, regardless of their previous experience. This space serves as a source of creative play, where individuals can explore their musical abilities, learn from others, and have fun. The instruments cater to all ages and provide a unique and exciting opportunity for people to connect and interact through music.

Amanda says, “We see people of all ages and abilities play alongside each other and experience the joy of spontaneous music-making in the outdoors. It’s wonderful seeing intergenerational play”.

Music-making outdoors can be an incredibly beneficial activity for seniors. Being outside in a natural environment can have a positive impact on mental and physical health, and music can further enhance the experience. Playing music outside allows seniors to enjoy fresh air and sunshine while also engaging in a fun and creative activity. Music-making can also help stimulate the brain, improve memory, and boost mood. Additionally, group music-making can provide opportunities for socialization, which can be especially important for seniors who may be isolated or lonely. Overall, music-making outdoors can be a wonderful way for seniors to stay active, engaged, and connected to their community.

For further reading see our White Papers:
Music For Mood & Memory - The Benefits Of Music For People Living With Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia
Play, Percussion and 'Post-Age' Pedagogy: The Positive Effects of Intergenerational Music-Making