The music therapy program at the Lodge serves approximately 50 long term care residents through both group and individual music therapy sessions. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the program focused mostly on individual sessions this year. Priority was given to those suffering from severe mental health challenges such as depression and advanced dementia. Individual sessions consisted of music as a tool for relaxation, emotional processing, and catharsis.
This year, for the first time, funding from Music Heals allowed the onsite music therapist to take on the supervision of a music therapy intern, which broadened their therapeutic reach considerably. They were also able to pilot a new program in which residents joined the music therapist to thank care staff at shift change through the sharing of positive songs. This program gave the residents a sense of purpose and meaning, and the opportunity to practice gratitude. It also served to encourage and uplift the Lodge staff, who exhaustedly worked throughout the pandemic to keep residents safe and cared for.
Broadway Lodge is a long-term care facility in the False Creek area. They serve a wide range of populations, including seniors, individuals who were without housing, and individuals struggling from physical or mental health challenges (dementia, depression & anxiety, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, etc.). Residents are from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds.
From Broadway Lodge:
“Due to the challenges of the pandemic and the restrictions on visitors, our clients experienced heightened isolation during 2021. This resulted in placing a much greater strain on their mental health and wellbeing. With our Music Heals funding, we were able to continue providing uninterrupted music therapy support to our clients throughout the pandemic, lessening the blow of isolation. Music therapy sessions provided the opportunity for clients to connect socially, share meaningful moments, and express and process their emotions and experiences. It was an invaluable service during a critical time, and could not have been possible without the support from Music Heals.”
Navigating The Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic
Thankfully, the lodge was able to continue the music therapy program without interruption. Due to restrictions on gathering and the need for social distancing, the focus shifted to mostly individual sessions, rather than group programming. It was also necessary to avoid high touch items, such as shared instruments, so they were limited in the types of interventions they could implement. They stuck mostly to singing and reminiscing, with the music therapist handling the only instrument in order to avoid risk of surface transmission.
Your support would sustain current programming and add 7 hours of music therapy services per week at Broadway Lodge. With these 7 hours, the facility would be able to offer a weekly music therapy group for each floor, where previously they were only able to reach one floor. This would also allow them to increase the number of 1:1 sessions offered to individuals who are isolated or unable to attend group programming.
One goal of their music therapy program in the following year would be to allow Music Therapist Kristen to collaborate with the spiritual health practitioner on the use of music in spiritual therapy, as well as to provide music therapy services in support of a celebration of life program, to be held approximately once per month. This program would allow residents and staff the chance to gather together and remember those residents who had recently died. Emotional and spiritual support would be offered through music, discussion, and prayer, allowing residents and staff the opportunity to process, grieve, and heal.
This year, Music Therapist Kristen was able to see one of the clients, Mary, for regular music therapy sessions. Mary was in the late stages of dementia, which limits her mental, physical and communicative abilities. She spent her days in her wheelchair, usually isolated in her room due to her perseverative calling out, which could disturb other residents. Throughout the year, Kristen would bring her guitar and spend time with Mary in her room. Knowing that Mary’s faith had played a large part in her life, Kristen would play and sing familiar hymns. Often, as soon as the music began, Mary would stop calling out, and quietly listen as the hymn was sung. She would sometimes close her eyes and breathe deeply, while other times she held Kristen’s gaze as she played. Although Mary would sometimes return to calling out once the session had ended, music helped to bridge her isolation, and for those few precious moments, she was seen and held.