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Updated: Jun 27, 2023

Confucius said, “music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” Utilizing music in nursing facilities has been a practice of mine for over twenty years. Whether it was music in the hallways, during mealtimes or in a person’s room, I have found music to bring about happiness and peace.

In the evenings, especially, I would play music at the nurses’ station that was popular in the generation of my residents. I would hear residents singing, dancing with their arms, smiling, and increasing socialization with others. Residents would smile as a staff member would be singing, feeling a sense of togetherness.

As residents were nearing end of life, I would talk with their loved ones and find out what type of music he/she enjoyed. One resident in particular comes to mind. Ms. D always loved “A Bushel and a Peck” and I would play it for her and sing even though she was unresponsive. The day before her passing, I went into her room and sat beside her on the bed, playing the music and holding her hand. Ms. D opened her eyes and smiled at me, squeezing my hand. She was happy and at peace.

Music is therapeutic in so many ways. It can help with memory, lower blood pressure, improve coping, reduce stress, reduce muscle tension, manage pain, and combat boredom. Something so simple can assist with behaviors and lighten the atmosphere.

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