Thursday, March 06, 2008

Music makes old feel young

MUSIC is just about everywhere nowadays – in homes, cars, workplaces, shops, hearts and souls.
A quick glance around the passengers on any bus shows earphones hooked to the digital recordings of their favourite artists.
Most of society seems fully wired up for sound, and some powerful forces are at work in cultural, commercial and technological senses.
But those forces pale beside the experience that music can be for the frail elderly. Anyone who has seen what music can mean to nursing home residents, for instance, can better understand its power by sharing their tears and smiles.

FEW would understand this phenomenon better than Kiwi expat Rosalie Tasker, who came to Queensland from Hawkes Bay in 1988, armed with formidable musical talent and a wish to work with the elderly here.
Rosalie was a diversional therapist and music specialist with Blue Care and the Churches of Christ, then joined the former St Luke’s Nursing Services as a carer.
Now working at Cleveland in Spiritus Care Services’ central referral agency, Rosalie looks back on a career of not only presenting group programs but taking music into lives in other ways.
She knows music can soothe pain better than any drug.
"At one time I cared for an elderly gentleman who was suffering from arthritis," she says. "He told me he used to sing in the town hall so while I helped him shower we would sing duets together.
"He used to say how much he looked forward to my visit. He said, ‘For this half hour I don’t feel any pain’."

ROSALIE sums up the value of music to the elderly: "It evokes memories that can be sad or happy and fills them with a sense of well-being and connection with those around them. It makes them come alive."
She has shared the joy of singing with stroke victims as they rediscover their voices.
Rosalie recently resumed her musical work at The Regis Retirement Village at Salsibury and is now developing a new program for the elderly and disabled to combine all her experience in music and diversional therapy.
She advertised in Bayside Bulletin Classifieds for instruments and immediately received offers of a trumpet and a flute. Her wish list includes castanets, tambourine, triangle, ukulele, Irish whistle, drums and musical bells but she says the program will use any instrument.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This story has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.

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