Music Therapy



Music Therapy program participants are primarily the residents we serve, however there are family and friends that also regularly participate. These seniors, who average 87 years of age, are frail and more vulnerable to social isolation and sensory deprivation as a result of cognitive impairment, sensory losses and communication difficulties.

Music Therapy programs are provided for thirteen hours per week, typically Thursday and Friday.

Music Therapy is one of the most interactive and therapeutic programs that influences the lives of those who live, work, visit and volunteer at Columbus Residence by creating a sense of community and connectedness. This therapy has the ability to link and connect different generations and cultures in a way that supports the development of relationships and promotes general health.  Music Therapy stimulates memory recall and facilitates relaxation that can promote sleep and decrease anxiety. The Music Therapist creates proactive and responsive programs which address cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of individuals.  The program activities are wide ranging to meet the residents’ varying and changing needs ie. level of cognitive and physical function as well as personal tastes and interests.

Activities include:

  • the use of instruments to encourage focus and rhythmic synchrony, physical function;
  • the introduction of themes for discussion that leads to familiar songs for group participation;
  • one-to-one sessions for intimate engagement with goals of self-expression, social connection, spiritual expression, emotional well-being;
  • engaging activities involving music, singing, games, and challenging performances;
  • discussing and reminiscing about songs, which in turn become “new” lyrics to familiar melodies.
  • programming to suit special seasonal and group celebrations. (birthdays, Christmas, ethnic acknowledgement, national anthem/travel themes).
  • lively, stimulating music where therapist engages residents in a group or one to one movement (suitable for ambulatory or residents who use wheelchairs. Residents living on our Special Care floor especially benefit).

Music Therapy groupSpecial Annual Events

In addition to our regular weekly Music Therapy programs, there are several annual events and activities that our Music Therapist organizes and leads, working closely with our Recreation Department. A Talent Show is held every autumn, where residents share their multitude of talents, including singing solos, or duets, playing instruments, reciting poetry, showcasing artwork and sharing baked goods. The Music Therapist works with residents in the weeks leading up to the Talent Show to prepare for the large event. Other annual events include a music in the park event at VanDusen Gardens, and other outings to local parks where our residents gather and sing together in nature.


Music Therapist

The Music Therapist is part of the Palliative Care team by providing comfort, easing pain and bringing peace to residents who are actively dying.

As a member of the Palliative Care Team, the Music Therapist will hold programs in individual resident rooms when the activity is contributing to palliative care.  In this context, Music Therapy can help residents and their loved ones deal with emotional issues such as depression, grief, anxiety, fear, frustration and anger as well as physical pain and shortness of breath.