What is MusicLINKS?
The LINKages Society of Alberta’s MusicLINKS Program will bridge the intergenerational gap between senior citizens living in care homes and youth in the community by bringing them together to connect over music as well as the memories, meaning and emotions associated with it.
In 2015, LINKages planned and delivered a MusicLINKS program at the St. Stephens/Beverly AgeCare partnership with 26 students and 13 care centre residents. The pilot was so successful that in 2016, MusicLINKS can now be found in 4 school program locations.
MusicLINKs is a music based program in which young adults put together a collection of songs for senior citizens who otherwise may not have easy access to the music they enjoy, or have enjoyed in the past. The youth and seniors come together to connect over music as well as the memories, meaning and emotions associated with each piece. As a result of the program, each senior receives their own personal music device with a selection of music the youth and seniors collaborate to create together.
The benefits of music to prevent and mitigate dementia & improve the quality of life of seniors is well documented. For example, music can boost mood, reduce stress and agitation, foster positive social interactions, coordinate motor function, and even facilitate cognition. Most importantly, the benefits of music continue long after the music stops playing. LINKages is building on such new research by designing an innovative, intergenerational approach to bring music, socialization, meaning and purpose to youths and seniors while capitalizing on the youths' natural capacity to utilize technology.
Not only would the seniors receive the gift of music, the youth volunteers will also have a wonderful opportunity of fostering a meaningful connection with another individual that can share new memories, meaning and stories around music.