music holds the key...|
After a delayed start, I have begun the Sound Connections internship at Tacoma Lutheran. I was excited to meet my partners Rachel and Mercedes, who have been involved in the Music and Memory project for some months now. I was debriefed on the organization of resident documents, which include paperwork that records the behavior and responses to the residentís music listening experience. This gives the program a way of recording the programís effectiveness in improving mood and well-being. With this information we can show that the residents are enjoying an opportunity to listen to their favorite music. After familiarization with paperwork and organization, I was able to meet residents on the following visit to the retirement facility. This was a new experience for me, since I have never worked with a senior population in a setting like this. I was pleased to meet friendly residents who were mostly looking forward to their chance to listen to music. Some were more talkative than others, and often had interesting stories. Amongst these encounters, there were some in which the plan of action was less clear. Certain residents were non-vocal, or responsive, leaving us with the responsibility to decide what was appropriate for them. One of the residents was very confused about what they were supposed to do while listening, and felt anxious during their listening time. The tour of the facility gave me a better understanding of what I will be doing during this internship, and laid a foundation on the ways that I should interact with residents here at Tacoma Lutheran. I look forward to deepening relationships, and carrying out the task of distributing music, since I have been able to see the positive impacts it has on the people here.
Visiting Tacoma Lutheran has been a reward, as well as a challenge. After meeting a few of the residents, I was assigned some that I am serving through the music and memory program. I bring them their headphones and music players to enjoy at their leisure. Understanding the distribution system was pretty straightforward, with labeled players and headphones for each resident. The difficult part of distributing the music is finding the right time that residents are able to listen. Often they are out of their rooms eating, in activities, or with a nurse or practitioner. I have found that from 10-11:30am, or 1-4:00pm are the ideal time slots to find residents in their room ready for listening. This week I tried to go after dinner, but realized the Evergreen Room is closed at 5pm. I went back the next morning, and although I have my system for distributing the headphones down, I was unable to find a lot of residents who were present, or able to listen. Certain residents bring particular needs to me, and sometimes Iím able to help. I have communicated with nurses in the Alpine room about guests who may be interested in engaging in the program, who arenít already signed up. Although I may not have as many people listening as I would hope for, I think that even if one or two residents are able to listen, it can make a big difference in the days of those who have time with the music.