Music has been an integral part of human existence for thousands of years – from the earliest forms of civilization to modern society, it remains a resilient outlet for creativity, emotion and imagination. More than this, the strange allure of music can be experienced by people of all ages, cognition and experiences – seen in the the insistent foot bobs of a baby to the beat, or the warm smile brought to a seniors face when they hear their favourite song. Truly, music is a universal and relatable aspect of life.
At Richview Manor, we believe that music, apart from cultivating warmth and contentment, also has the ability to heal and nurture those that are physically, cognitively or emotionally discontent. Furthermore, the idea of music as a healing force goes beyond just philosophy and ideology – there is actually some amazing science behind it. Within the last fifty years, it has become more evident that music has the ability to reduce anxiety, increase immune functions, and even ameliorate the debilitating effects of chronic pain. Scientifically, the effects of a pleasing auditory stimulation are thought to calm and soothe by reducing the activity of a brain region known as the “central nucleus of the amygdala”, which regulates fear and anxiety responses. By reducing activity of the amygdala this will, in turn, decrease stimulation of other key brain regions, such as the hypothalamus – a brain region which regulates the levels of hormones circulating in the body. One of these major hormones under hypothalamic control is cortisol, a hormone involved in the stress response. If cortisol is present in high concentrations in circulation it can lead to the anxiety and unfocused tension that is common in the ageing demographic. Furthermore, cortisol also acts as an immune-suppressant, thereby making these stressed individuals more prone to infection. As such, it is this reduction in cortisol that is all-important in music therapy.
Music therapy is a natural and extremely effective way for people to lessen the stress and anxiety in their lives – in fact, it has been shown to be more effective than prescribed drugs at reducing the influence of life stressors on the mind and body. Richview Manor fully supports the music therapy initiative by backing programs from different organization that are geared towards keeping seniors and music connected. For example, for our residents who are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia’s we are currently working with the Alzheimer’s Society though their “Music and Memory: iPod Project” – a project geared towards keeping residents connected to their favourite music by supplying eligible residents with a free pre-loaded iPod and headphones. But apart from connecting residents with music programs, Richview Manor also hosts and organizes a surfeit of musical events in a variety of music genres – from large classical concerts in our grand view dining hall to small traditional bands in our lobby lounge café, to even musical theatre outings at local theatres. One of our most renown and beloved musical events is Richview Idol – an annual musical competition in association with Musaic School of Music that spans three months where students perform live renditions for our residents as they compete for the Richview Idol crown. Residents enjoy not only the music, but also have the opportunity to act as judges for the event, allowing them to really become part of the festivities and experience the music.
As firm believers and advocates for the power of music, Richview Manor strives to uphold our tradition of maintaining a strong and capricious musical presence and we encourage family, residents and loved ones to let music become part of their lives.