Music2LINK is an innovative, dementia-centred program that builds on the learning of our pilot project, MusicLINKS. Music has a positive cognitive role in seniors living with dementia. Seniors want to interact with their youth friends for as long as they are cognitively able. Music2LINK works as a branch of Care Centre/School programs, involving students from current Calgary schools.
Music2LINK is music and art-based. Each session begins with a sing-a-long, incorporating popular songs from previous generations to assist seniors in calming and positively affecting their mood. Followed by the sing-a-long, the students and seniors are provided with an art activity to do together, using different methods and mediums, such as watercolour paint, sketching, acrylic paint, or crafting.
Music2LINK also hosts monthly “Care Partner Nights”, where the goals are to involve care partners in music-based activities so they may learn options for interacting with their loved ones, collect ongoing feedback about how we can support care partners, provide resources and tools for self-care, and experience the support of the students and staff, knowing their loved one is well cared for, and engaged in enjoyable interactions when they are not present with them.
Music2LINK focuses on care centres where the majority of residents are experiencing mid-late stage dementia. Two of our current fourteen care centres have a Music2LINK program, involving a maximum of twelve seniors and twenty-four students per site.
Similar to Care Centre/School programs, pre-planned and organized activities are facilitated by LINKages’ staff, with the help of a volunteer, along with the support of school liaisons and care centre staff. Two students are partnered with one senior friend for the duration of the program, November to May. At each visit, the youth and senior participants engage in activities that are intentional, interactive, and creative, designed to help foster mutually beneficial intergenerational connections. The youth hone in on social skills, and compassion, and the seniors engage in fun dementia-friendly activities.
In its second year, Music2LINK will evolve to include a community site for individuals still living outside of care centres, and will expand to at least two rural sites in Alberta where LINKages intergenerational programming is taking place.
Before the first session, students receive intergenerational sensitivity training, as well as specialized training about dementia. They learn how music plays a positive role in seniors with dementia, and how to engage and support someone experiencing dementia respectfully and compassionately.
Are you interested in having a dementia-friendly program in your care centre?
Are you interested in having the students in your school participate in a program where they learn skills that will help build dementia-friendly communities?
Are you a volunteer who is passionate about dementia awareness?
Please email LINKages by clicking on the blue button below. We will contact you to determine what is required to start a program in your school or care centre.
LINKages operates from the core belief we are stronger together. We are aiming to create a next generation of dementia-aware decision makers and caregivers through training and experiences as youth, supporting a dementia-friendly Alberta. We also strive to continue to gather feedback from our participants and their loved ones regarding the program structure, activities, and personal preferences in order for Music2LINK to be beneficially applied to persons of various ages, cultures, spiritual beliefs, and languages.