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4OurElders.com salutes Project Compassion and the facilities who are participating.

Brookfield Assisted Living resident Lorrie Daniels watches while Doug Lauts demonstrates how to play a Lowrey EZ2 Virtual Organ.

A new adaptive music therapy activity has been launched at five Fort Smith area elderly residential facilities under the direction of Project Compassion. The program is the first of its kind in the country, and was the brainstorm of Marian Conrad, Project Compassion executive director, in collaboration with Doug Lauts, development agent for Lowrey MIDI Music Center.

Under the program, “Lowrey Music and Wellness,” five local facilities received a Lowrey EZ2 Virtual Organ for three months at no cost. Free training sessions for staff and volunteers were conducted at Project Compassion’s headquarters.Project Compassion is a United Way funded agency and also relies on private donations and volunteers to launch programs such as this one. Project Compassion was formed in 1972 to provide visitation and other services to those in nursing homes.

The goals of the Lowrey Music and Wellness activities are:

• To empower individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the activity of playing music
• Help participants become more relaxed and less stressed
• Experience music making in leisure time
• Create community partnerships by recruiting volunteers who either can train residents or who can bring their own instruments in to add to the musical experience.

Within minutes of sitting down at the organ, residents can play entire songs, evoking memories, reducing stress and building social and confidence skills.

“We are the only ones doing this in the entire country,” said Conrad.

Doug Lauts watches Shirley Haggard, a resident at Brookfield Assisted Living, learn to play a Lowrey EZ2 Virtual Organ.

She noted that there are similar programs used for music therapy in a variety of groups, including veterans and autistic patients, but this particular program was created with the geriatric patient in mind.

“We knew about the musical benefits for the elderly and began to think of ways to incorporate that into local facilities at an affordable cost,” said Conrad.

In February 2015, she presented the idea to Lauts. He contacted Amro Music in Memphis, and was able to get five organs on loan to area facilities. The five initial facilities are Brookfield Assisted Living, Chapel Ridge Health and Rehabilitation, Highlands of Van Buren Health and Rehabilitation, Methodist Village Health and Rehabilitation, and Methodist Nursing Home.

Conrad said facilities were selected on a first-come, first-serve basis after she sent an initial email to activity directors at all 26 homes Project Compassion serves in their six-county region.

Facility activity directors received training at Project Compassion headquarters and will hold classes and activities to train residents to play the organ. When the three month free trial is finished, each facility has the option of purchasing the organ or renting it. Conrad said for each organ purchased or rented by a facility, another would be sent from Amro Music to be used at a different facility.

“We have a long waiting list of facilities wanting to get in on this program,” she said.

At the Brookfield kickoff on Aug. 14, the activity room was packed with residents, many of whom were initially reluctant to attend, but within minutes were smiling, nodding their heads and reminiscing about their pasts. Lauts led several residents in lessons on the organ. Doris Townley, 99, moved slowly toward the organ, but once there, she began belting out a tune within a minute. Guila Turner, 95, said she had always wanted to play an instrument but didn’t think she could. With Lauts' guidance and the encouragement of others, she was playing songs in moments.

The Lowrey EZ2 Virtual Organ allows residents to hold one button based on it’s lighted color and then use the other hand to hit a few keys that are written in large, circled print on the instruction book.

Another feature is what Lauts calls “the can’t sound bad” version. Residents can hold down a background noise button and use their other hand to play any keys they want without reading notes.

One of the residents at Brookfield referred to the program as “the best exercise in the world” as she jitterbugged to a riveting song on the organ. Another who had been sullen in her room moments before the demonstration could not stop smiling throughout the entire hour-long lesson and performance.Trish Jennings, activity director at Brookfield, said, “I expect this program will help with their spirit, attitude and help create memories and reflections of younger days. In addition, it will help with reducing their stress levels.”

“Music is a lifetime activity,” said Lauts. “We’ve been doing this type of program for several decades, but this is the first time we’ve brought it to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.”

National studies show that music therapy can be crucial for dementia, Alzheimers, depression and loneliness, all things that frequently occur in residential facilities. According to a study by neurologist Oliver Sacks, “Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory. It brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”

Jennings from Brookfield told of residents who are non-verbal, yet music therapy can awaken them and suddenly they’ll be mouthing lyrics or humming along.

“It’s a mood elevator,” she said. “The benefits are not only seen in dementia or Alzheimer’s patients. It can produce amazing results in all of our residents. Music is a very powerful tool.”

Within a year, Project Compassion hopes to have the Lowrey Music and Wellness  program in most area residential homes along with another musical therapy program that will be launched soon and will fit residents with less mobility.

 

Originally published here: http://www.thecitywire.com/node/38592#.VddU1chVhBc
Story and photos by Janette Ballman, special to The City Wire

What sets us apart is why you can not afford "free help"

   

Let us answer an obvious question almost anyone would have: "With all the 'free help' on the Internet (like APlaceforMom.com or APlaceForDad.com, which make tens of millions of dollars annually in revenues from the very homes they are recommending to you) why would I need 4OurElders' advice or help in selecting the best nursing home?" There are two simple answers.

FIRST, THE BEST SENIOR HOMES DO NOT NEED OFF-BALANCE SHEET MARKETEERS, SUCH AS THESE TWO  MENTIONED ABOVE, TO ATTRACT NEW RESIDENTS.  Therefore, if you are looking for the best senior home for you or a loved one, it follows that you are not likely to find one using this "free help." For the most part, these types of "free services" come from companies which are being paid by the very homes they recommend; many of these internet help lines are little more than referral services or "off-balance sheet" marketing arms for the companies trying to get you or your loved one into one of their facilities.  Moreover, as the NY Times and others  (NY Times: A Helping Hand, Paid on Commission: see also Seattle Times: Senior-care placement companies scramble to cash in) found in a very critical article of this business last fall, often these companies are reluctant to even disclose this business relationship.

Second, in contrast to these "free services," we at 4ourelders have no such conflict because we have no financial relationship with any senior housing company trying to get a move-in.  We work only for you and our loyalty is only to you. We do not make referrals and do not accept money from anyone other than our clients. Our goal is simple:  to give you the best chance in a very uneven industry to find a home that will provide a good experience and a good outcome. We will provide you with the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that you did everything possible to protect and serve your loved one, and to avoid the trauma of bad nursing home experiences. We are ready to help you find the right home for the right reasons. Click here to read one of our own personal stories.

 

What we do

   

We evaluate eldercare homes around the country for our clients, helping them insure that they have all necessary information, unavailable anywhere else for any amount of money, to choose the best possible home for themselves or a loved one based on one criterium--who has the best staff from top to bottom, at every hour of every day, to provide the best possible care and service to its residents.  We measure on-site every aspect of care and service to give the new resident and his or her family the best possible chance for the best possible outcome.

Making a decision to move yourself or someone you love into an institutional residence--assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care or even independent living—can be one of the toughest things you will ever have to do. To find the best possible home without help from a knowledgeable, objective and independent third party is even tougher. And to have to live with a decision that ultimately proves to have been fatally flawed for whatever reason is the toughest of all.  Don’t risk it. We can definitely ease your burden.

Peace of mind

4OurElders is unique in the elder care business because we take the guesswork out of the process of evaluating competing long term care facilities as potential homes for our clients. By doing this, we give them the confidence that the home they choose will provide the best opportunity for a good experience. We do everything humanly possible to eliminate for our clients the feelings so prevalent in those involved in the eldercare decision process--angst, fear, guilt, the trauma, the uncertainty and, far too often for far too many people, after-the-fact remorse that people often feel when the experience they so wanted, expected and desperately needed to be good turns horribly bad (See Seattle Times: Hundreds of adult homes conceal abuse, neglect).

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Comments   

0 #3 JohnSmithd386 2015-07-26 16:42
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0 #2 marioluigi4235 2015-02-14 18:36
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-1 #1 can't give titleGinger Manning 2014-02-05 03:53
I work for a New Assisted Living, who cares only for the filling of jbeds and getting that check each month. I thought I took a post ion where the elderly and their families matter. When I speak up to the CEO and Administrator, basically they schrug me off as though I have said nothing of importance. I speak for the care of the residents. I wish I could let their families know whats happing so thay can move their love one out. Yes I know thats a bad thing to say, but its true. :sad: I need some advice from you Mr. B.
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