St Francis needs help to provide iPods for the elderly

MUSIC THERAPY: Rodger Brown, Peggy Bailey, Rae Richards and Doreen O'Neil are hoping to trade in the old CD player and personalise their playlists. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY: 0306amage1
MUSIC THERAPY: Rodger Brown, Peggy Bailey, Rae Richards and Doreen O'Neil are hoping to trade in the old CD player and personalise their playlists. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY: 0306amage1

Music can make us move, encourage us to relive special memories, and help us to relax.

All of these reactions have become familiar sights to the staff at St Francis Aged Care facility as they help residents with dementia via the magic of simple melodies, and they’re hoping to see more of them in the future.

Activities coordinator Jacinta Trood said music is especially therapeutic for St Francis’ dementia residents, particularly during ‘sundowning’.

Sundowning is the term used to describe the behavioural change that often occurs in dementia patients in the early evenings.

Symptoms can include agitation, delusions and wandering.

“About four or five o’clock at night our residents with dementia can often get quite agitated,” Mrs Trood said.

“Music can help to alleviate this.”

Mrs Trood said the tendency to pace around in an agitated state can prevent residents from benefiting from the music therapy options available. 

“Currently in the lounge we put on music DVDs or use the CD player – a lot of residents love music – but if they aren’t relaxed enough to sit down it isn’t available to them,” she said.

St Francis is hoping to replace the outdated technology with 10 ipods for its 10 dementia residents, complete with personalised playlists.

“Our plan is to speak to families and their loved ones to ensure our guests are listening to the genres they actually like,” Mrs Trood said. 

“If they were farmers once, perhaps they like country, maybe they played instruments themselves and we can play them the music they know.”

To raise the money, the aged care facility is holding a monster garage sale at its grounds on Clinton Street on Saturday, March 24.

The sale will include kids toys, furniture, clothing and various bric-a-brac.

A sausage sizzle is being put on and raffle tickets will be available for purchase throughout the fundraising day, which is running from 9am to 2pm.

The five winners of the raffle will be notified on the weekend before Mother’s Day that they are now the proud owner of quilts donated by Jan Sanderson.

“Our residents love any type of entertainment,” said Mrs Trood.

St Francis is accepting donations of garage sale items. Call 63 111 300 if you have any items to donate to the cause.

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