Music is such a wonderful thing for folks in a nursing home! Thank you for playing!
I have played different times over the years at a local nursing home. One thing that seemed to work well was to just set with your instrument out in the hallway in an area where the residents are somewhat mobile. Ask them to come out in the hall if they want to. It keeps the group very small and personal, you can play a couple of songs and then move on down the hall.
I found this to be very helpful when I was first playing in public. And the residents love it! It is a WIN WIN situation!
Good luck with your endeavors!
Hi Nina, please ask your site question in this forum so that others may benefit from the questions & answers:
Nina, I am glad if my note was helpful. I am so glad you are deciding to give this kind of visiting a try. It's great that you have someone else to go with you, too!
Even though my daughter and I no longer do the "room" visits, we do play as part of our string band at least twice a year at the home in our area. We try to go in summer and play lighter, faster kinds of tunes, and then closer to Christmas. We play, pass out Christmas cards and candy canes, and just visit.
One thing I forgot to mention about visiting. We always got our flu shots out of the way before visiting==for our protection as well as the people we were visiting. And any time we were not feeling well, we felt obliged to cancel or reschedule our visit. A bad cold to a healthy person could be very serious to an elderly person.
I, too, sometimes find navigating FOTMD not easy. But if it helps, you might want to make sure you are signed in before trying to view replies. Earlier today, I couldn't see any replies to posts I had made a few years ago...until I signed in and there they were! (Or maybe it was just something else I did wrong!)
I had originally posted in the Dulcimer Therapy group. If you scroll up to the very top of the home page or your page, (up where the Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer banner is), you will see Groups. Click there and you can scroll down the page and select the Dulcimer Therapy group. Click on that and you will see any past discussions.
Hope this helps! Let me know how things are going!
P.s. I have family near Beaver Dam, KY. My dad was from Sunnydale (near Hartford and Beaver Dam).
Hello Nina . I was unfortunately unable to continue the individual room visits in the nursing home because of some health and scheduling problems, but I learned quite a bit with the visits we did make....
First, be ready to talk with the person you are visiting. This may sound like a no-brainer, but be prepared to introduce yourself and then ask them about themselves. I was surprised at how much people just wanted to connect. After my daughter and I played for them, we often stayed to talk for a good half hour....of course, this reduced the number of people we could end up visiting that day.
Use your manners....Another no-brainer, but remember to knock on the door and ask permission to come in to visit before barging in with instrument, stand, and other paraphernalia in tow. Ask before sitting down in the bedside chair or other furnishings. Ask if they would like to hear you play your music! Some people were napping, for example, when we arrived, or had a roommate who was ill or napping.
Less is more. We made up a binder of about 10 songs. At each room we maybe played only 2 or 3, but it was nice to have a selection to let them choose from.
Young ones win the day....my daughter was the hit of almost every visit. It does seem as if the very old are drawn to the very young. I made sure she had at least one song to sing as I accompanied her, and everyone loved it. Plus, she is more extroverted than I am, so that helped keep conversations going!
Don't be afraid to reach out and touch. A gentle touch on the back of the hand or arm can go a long way to let someone know you care, especially when they are in an environment which is largely "clinical".
Other odds and ends: we brought a single, metal folding music stand (we shared the music), our music binder, a folding camp stool (one of the small armless kinds), and some Germ-X and or antibacterial hand wipes all held in a canvas bag. And of course, my dulcimer. I left the dulcimer case in the lobby area and just carried the instrument room to room instead of constantly packing/unpacking it.
We made sure to use the hand sanitizer or wipes out in the hall before entering our next room.
At the beginning of our visit, we checked in with the activities director who gave us a list of names and room numbers of residents she thought might be interested in a visit, along with any pertinent information we might need to know. For example, if someone was hearing or visually impaired. Keep that list for your next visit, and try to make notes of which people you visited and which ones you didn't so that you can try to visit them next time.
Our visitations were very satisfying and very appreciated by residents and staff, alike. We often saw smiles as staff would pause at a resident's door while passing down the hall.
I hope this helps. Let me know if there is anything else I can help with!
Welcome, Dulcinina, to this little corner of dulcimer heaven. Hope you enjoy it here.
Howdy and welcome to FOTMD!
Welcome to FOTMD Dulcinina. It's good to have you aboard.
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
HI Dulcinina, and welcome to the wonderful world of the Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer. It's a good place to come, spend some time, learn about the dulcimer, and to meet some good people.
Hey Dulcinina, welcome aboard. Glad ya found us.