Concerts in Care Aims To Enrich Lives of Seniors Through Music

The BC Care Providers Association’s report that music significantly reduces the use of anti-psychotic drugs is sound qualification of something widely understood; that music has a profound effect on people whatever their condition. We hardly need to press that case – our own world is full of music.

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Mezzo-soprano Patricia Hammond and pianist Douglas Balfour performing for a Concerts in Care audience

Health Arts Society’s Concerts in Care is a program of 45-minute concerts, performed by first-class professional musicians for people no longer able to access the kind of music making we deem so important in our lives. As a Music Therapist told us, “I have witnessed the joy the residents express when listening to the amazing musicianship the Concerts in Care program offers. These concerts do have certain therapeutic benefits, and are a wonderful treat for the residents and their families (and staff too), and they co-exist usefully with the particular practices of music therapy.”

People in residential care require clinical treatment, but a home is first and foremost a place for people to live.  And living is made up of the things so often spoken about as providing “quality of life,” as if it was something taken out of a jar and spread on top of the necessary clinical interventions.

We don’t make claims of continuous and overarching transformation as a consequence of our concerts, but we do know, from having delivered over 7,500 of them across the country in less then eight years, that Concerts in Care succeeds in a way that is fully commensurate with the time residents are given to enjoy them, about an hour every five weeks. Our audiences normally range from anywhere between 25 to 100 residents.

Not only are the concerts a great value, they also produce some remarkable outcomes. Check out our website at www.healtharts.org to find out more. Concerts in Care is the easiest possible programme to arrange.  The programme is set for a regular day and time and entered in the home’s calendar.  Details of each concert are available on the Health Arts Society website along with a poster which can be printed.

Of course we discuss programming with the home, although Concerts in Care selects the musicians and supervises their programming.  This has brought to many homes a great deal of pleasure from the spontaneity that results from meeting performers with a wide variety of programming.  The Society looks to organize concerts in groups of homes relatively close to each other so that performers can move through two or three concerts in a day. We’d be happy to talk to you and your colleagues about adopting our program. Many of you will know of our work first-hand. Our objective is to see regular series of Concerts in Care become a normal intervention for residents across BC and Canada.

Written and submitted by David Lemon – Founder, Executive and Artistic Director, Health Arts Society. Concerts in Care have been contracted by a number of BCCPA members to perform for their residents.