Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Going to Wanganui to present to 60 Diversional Therapists

Diversional Therapist Elizabeth Juden (who I have known since we were children, and lived across the road from each other) was at the conference in Hamilton last year.

She has invited me to speak to the lower North Island Diversional Therapists at the end of this month, in Wanganui. I will be travelling there by bus, rather than driving, and it is far cheaper by bus. I get congitation time :-)

I have two sessions with them. The first will be a chance to sing, and use the products. This is to get them to reflect on how good singing makes them feel. (I know this because singing releases endorphins, and those are happy hormones, furthermore in increase oxygenation, as people breathe with the musical phrase, and therefore breathe more deeply). Having experienced it for themselves is important, as they know that the same thing will happen to their residents, as they use the programme.
The second session will be helping them to work out how to engage with their manager. Having had experience with Diversional Therapists and their place in the 'pecking order' of a retirement site, this is important: for them to be able to start a conversation about why they need our singing programme in their facility.

For starters, all the work is done for them. The songs are chosen, the lyrics are provided, in size 20 font. They get a singalong disc to learn the songs, and an accompaniment disc to use when the songs are learnt. They get ongoing training to apply the benefits of the singing programme, with Monday Monthly webinars on different topics. This is relevant, as DHB funding comes to each facility, and it is increased, when the facility can show that the staff are undertaking training.

This is what one of the users of the programme says:

 “Singing for Seniors has done all of the hard work” says Bronie. "You get an email every-time a new resource is made available. Every month there is a new health theme for us to focus on, like depression, or the health benefits. We know our residents, but Singing for Seniors give us the confidence to work with them in the best way possible. We even have a lady on oxygen 24/7 who joins in. We wouldn’t have known that this is good for her if it wasn’t for the Singing for Seniors programme.

Training is 30 minutes long, once a month and they gives me new ideas I introduce each month. Because can’t leave the village training is easy to join, and I spend more time with our residents. I don’t have a computer at work so I call in by phone and if I can’t dial that month because we’ve short staffed I watch the training at home and if I have any questions I just email Dr Julie. "

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

 Singing can alleviate the effects of a Stroke

(Natural News) The damaged brains of stroke patients can be "rewired" by
singing, restoring the ability to speak to patients who have lost it, according to a
study conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School and presented at
the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
in San Diego.

The findings came out of an ongoing trial in which stroke patients who have
lost the ability to speak are treated with music therapy and taught to put words
into simple melodies that they tap out with their hands. According to Schlaug,
patients who had previously been unable to form any words at all became able to
say "I am thirsty" after just one session.

Music has been used as a form of therapy for stroke patients since the discovery
that damage to the brain's speech centers did not affect the ability to sing.
"People sometimes ask where in the brain music is processed and the answer
is everywhere above the neck," said Aniruddh Patel from the Neurosciences
Institute in San Diego.

"Music engages huge swathes of the brain - it's not just lighting up a spot in the
auditory cortex."

Speech and movement are mostly controlled from the left side of the brain,
making them vulnerable in the case of damage to that side.

"But there's a sort of corresponding hole on the right side," Schlaug said.
"For some reason, it's not as endowed with these connections, so the left side is
used much more in speech. If you damage the left side, the right side has trouble
[filling that role]."

Putting words into song, however, appears to stimulate the formation of speech
connections on the brain's right side.
"Music might be an alternative medium to engage parts of the brain that are
otherwise not engaged," lead researcher Gottfired Schlaug said.

Sources for this story include: