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Harnessing the power of music to connect and heal

Harnessing the power of music to connect and heal

Discover how Melbourne Recital Centre's Aged Care partner Uniting AgeWell helps its clients connect through music in different ways.

Music has the power to bridge cultural divides and generational gaps, evoke powerful emotions in listeners, encourage social interaction and provide a soothing respite.

Uniting AgeWell, Melbourne Recital Centre’s Aged Care Partner and International Chamber Ensemble series sponsor, harnesses the power of music to support its clients in many different ways.  

The non-profit provider has a music therapy program that supports people with dementia and their carers living at home. Through the Music For David program, music therapists carefully select songs and upload them to a MP3 player, to be played to people with dementia.  The music provides a meaningful and enjoyable activity for the listener, while giving the carer much-needed short-term respite. 

Pat Haslinghouse (front), Marjorie Hanna (back)

At Strathdon Community Services in Forest Hill, older people living in the community attend a weekly Music Therapy Group to create and enjoy music in a supportive environment.

Evocative songs from years past, an array of instruments beating in time, smiles as participants make eye contact mid-line and dissipating anxiety – Tuesdays are special days at Strathdon.

Uniting AgeWell Music Therapist Winifred Beevers says the group provides meaningful interactions between the participants, who are supported and encouraged to connect with peers despite sometimes struggling to communicate:

“I use music to encourage interactions between the people... For some people it may be a smile and we’ll have a musical interaction, but you also see people laughing, talking, lifting their heads, straightening their backs and taking an interest in what’s happening around them... The beauty of the group is that people who don’t speak much can communicate clearly through music.”

Many of Uniting AgeWell’s residential sites also have their own choirs, some of whom perform in local community events, seasonal concerts, and one even recorded its own album of songs.

For more information about how Uniting AgeWell supports older people through music, call 1300 783 435 or visit unitingagewell.org