NOT MISSING A BEAT: Rhinebeck nursing home’s drum circle provides multiple benefits (video)
RHINEBECK, N.Y. — It has been said that music is the medicine of the mind. If that is true, then the activities department of The Baptist Home at Brookmeade has just what the doctor ordered for the roughly dozen or so residents participating in the nursing home’s weekly drum circle.
Each week, residents gather in the activities room to bang drums and tambourines and to shake maracas.
“The residents absolutely love it,” said Regan Smith, the program coordinator for the New Day program at The Baptist Home. “It really brings out another side of them, as music does in general.”
Recently, resident Dorothy Steed found herself in the drum circle for the first time. It was, she said, the first time she’d ever played an instrument. “I love music,” she said.
The idea of a drum circle began in the late 1990s as part of the facility’s occupational therapy program, said Marci Berman, who runs the home’s occupational therapy program.
“A lot of the residents here need strengthening of their arms so they can be more independent with their washing and dressing and overall conditioning,” said Berman.
Instead of just doing exercises with weights and pulleys, we wanted to find something that was a fun, purposeful activity.”
The activity was an immediate success she said, inspiring even the most listless of residents.
“Sometimes there can be residents here who are very confused or sleeping all the time and they don’t really engage, but when they hear the music, they wake up, even if their eyes are closed, they might start tapping their foot,” she said.
Because of the popularity of the drum circle, the concept was picked up by the activities department, where all residents who wanted to take part could. Continued...
“We drum to music, we do free-style drumming, we do all kinds of activities with the drumming,” said Smith. “It’s really wonderful for them, it provides range of motion, and cognitive, sensory stimulation and they love it.”
Recently, Fre Atlast, a cofounder of the Elders Drum Project, paid a visit to the nursing home to drum with the residents. It was wonderful,” said Smith. “She did old time songs with them. She just got everybody involved and enthusiastic.”
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