Providing Outdoor Musical Activities For Seniors

Dementia Friendly Gardens

Building dementia-friendly sensory gardens with outdoor musical instruments is now a recognized practice in many senior care and nursing homes to promote the well-being and enjoyment of life among residents. These gardens provide a safe and peaceful environment for residents and visitors alike, where they can delight in the use of various colors, smells, textures, and sounds that appeal to all the senses.

Outdoor music-making can have numerous benefits for seniors and people with dementia. It provides a chance for social interaction and engagement, which can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Moreover, music has been proven to have a positive impact on mood and emotions, which can help to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety in individuals with dementia. Additionally, the sensory stimulation that comes with music-making can help to improve cognitive function and provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Many care home residents have visual or hearing impairments, so it's important to design a sensory garden that stimulates all human senses. A well-planned layout with benches, plants, walkways, and fountains creates a relaxing environment where residents, family, and friends can enjoy the visual and audible ambiance while benefiting from fresh air and sunshine. With a little planning, sensory gardens can serve multiple purposes, such as socializing, healing, and therapy.

Akadinda (600x600 old lady & carer)

Music In the Gardens

Music plays a vital role in our lives and is an essential part of any sensory environment. A new trend in senior living facilities is the creation of sound gardens. These gardens combine the benefits of a sensory garden with the use of outdoor musical instruments. Building a sound garden for the residents will not only engage their senses but also provide them with an opportunity to have fun and explore the outdoors in a new and exciting way. Music has the power to motivate, enrich, touch, relax, and energize seniors in care. A harmonious sound garden can create an interactive outdoor soundscape that pleases the eye and enchants the ear. A sensory sound garden is a multi-generational attraction that entices residents and even young visitors to the outdoors throughout the year to play the instruments. It's hard not to interact with others in a sound garden who are experimenting with the different sounds created by the instruments.

Harmony (1140x760 Older Lady)

Music & Therapy In The Gardens

Extensive research has been conducted on the therapeutic benefits of music in senior care. It has been found that music can improve well-being and alleviate symptoms such as agitation, anxiety, and depression. Playing music can be both stimulating and soothing at the same time. The primary senses - hearing, touching, and seeing - can be stimulated, which can help to calm patients when they are stressed and relax them. Additionally, playing musical instruments can create a positive environment for bonding between an Alzheimer patient and his or her therapist or between a resident and their family members.

Playing outdoor musical instruments can also have a number of physical benefits for seniors. For one, it can help improve their motor skills and hand-eye coordination as they use their hands and fingers to manipulate the instrument. Additionally, playing musical instruments can help strengthen the arms, shoulders, and back muscles, which is particularly beneficial for seniors who may struggle with mobility or have limited range of motion. Furthermore, playing musical instruments outdoors can provide seniors with much-needed exposure to sunlight, which can help boost their vitamin D levels and promote bone health.

Babel Drum (600x600_Old Lady & Baby) (600x600 Danish-care-home

Music-Making For Residents, Carers and Visitors

We understand how important various activities are for the well-being of residents, visitors, and staff in a nursing home. They help to keep the atmosphere lively, prevent boredom, and add excitement to life. For activities directors who wish to incorporate music into their programs, a musical sound garden can be an excellent option. Music has a universal appeal and can communicate with people of all languages, cultures, and abilities. It can be an effective tool to encourage residents to express themselves and socialize with others. Moreover, playing music can help to improve concentration, mobility, coordination, reduce tension, and promote relaxation. A sound garden provides a therapeutic outdoor experience that allows residents to interact with their surroundings. Additionally, visiting family members of all ages can enjoy the instruments and join in the musical activities, making it a fun and inclusive experience for everyone.

MyTunes 1140x760 (older lady) (MyTunes

Designing a Sound Garden for Seniors

Visitors to the garden can experience and compare the sounds made by different materials. Instruments made of timber produce pure and natural sounds with a full and rich tone that is low in pitch and pleasing to the ear. Alternatively, instruments with notes made of metal, produce a higher-pitched, resonant sound that is clear and vibrant. Outdoor musical instruments that are tuned to the pentatonic scale make it effortless to play as all the notes within the scale harmonize with one another. This means that even non-musical individuals can pick up a mallet and play, producing new and original melodies each time without any discordant notes.

A sound garden is more than just green space. It is a therapeutic and interactive tool that engages residents in activities that create soothing sounds, encourage self-expression, support social interactions, and improve cognitive skills. Imagine sculptures and musical instruments placed alongside wheelchair-friendly paths that motivate residents to go outdoors and enjoy the open air.

Designing outdoor areas to include musical activities is a great way to encourage physical activity and outdoor living.

The video below is a collection of short videos taken in numerous care homes and elder centers where outdoor musical instruments have proven to be both beneficial and fun.