‘Silver Song Clubs’ are the core program of nonprofit Sing For Your Life Foundation, BC, active in British Columbia since 2009. Participatory singing and music making sessions are active in the community for seniors aging at home.
The Clubs bring individuals aged 65+ (with a care giver, if appropriate) together at a community venue twice a month for a 90-minute fun and engaging session. Led by professional musician facilitators, trained in the proprietary program, the sessions engage seniors in a variety of participatory singing and music making.
The program activities are designed to help increase breathing, encourage the use of fine and grand motor skills and stimulate reminisce through the sharing of stories and past experiences. The sessions are suitable for seniors of all cognitive functioning levels including those with early dementia. Each session increases in challenge by integrating hand gestures, layering, rounds, and the playing of percussion instruments and hand chimes.
The program was developed by the originating UK charity in 2005 and is embedded in research undertaken by the Sidney De Hann Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK. Linked benefits to the program, substantiated through ongoing research in the UK, include: increased morale, less loneliness, improved respiratory function, improved overall rating of physical health, fewer doctor visits, fewer unscheduled hospital visits and fewer instances of falls.
Currently three Silver Song Clubs are running in the Kelowna area and expansion in BC and elsewhere in Canada is planned. There is no cost to participants to attend.
In addition to the community based program, the BC Foundation operates a social enterprise initiative that combines the Silver Song Club program with highly portable technology for use within long term care establishments and seniors’ centers. Mid 2014 the programming will also be available via the Sing For Your Life Music Box App, an assistive technology app for tablets and smart phones.
Learn more: www.singforyourlife-canada.org
- A pilot project aimed at reducing the use of antipsychotic medication by introducing more music programming has recently been completed by Alberta Health Services, led by Dr. James Silvius. http://tinyurl.com/n8wuxla
- Regular Therapeutic Singing Sessions for Patients with Dementia Associated with 50% Reduction in Occurrence of Aggressive Behaviour – Three month pilot study by clinical psychologist Alison Culverwell, Head of Older People’s Psychological Services and Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Kent and Medway NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust. Study link available on request: firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by Nigel Brown, Executive Director, Sing for Your Life Foundation, BC