“I’m a new man! Thank you. Thank you so much!” 85 year old Michael’s eyes well up and his voice is brimming with emotion.
What provoked such a reaction? You might be surprised to hear it’s an iPod loaded with Michael’s favourite songs from yesteryear.
In September, Oceania Healthcare, one of New Zealand’s largest retirement village and aged care providers, claimed the Supreme Award for Overall Excellence in Aged Care for the third consecutive year at the NZ Aged Care Association Excellence in Care Awards.
The company also won the Innovative Delivery Award which recognises exceptional effort by care facilities to enhance the care they deliver and improve quality of life for residents through creative delivery of services.
Oceania CEO, Earl Gasparich says he’s delighted the company has been recognised by the industry once again for its outstanding approach to care.
“While it’s obviously a big part of what we do, providing care isn’t just about attending to our residents’ physical needs. It’s also about enriching their lives in ways that are meaningful to the individual. To put it simply, great care includes making our residents happy.”
Oceania’s holistic approach to care was demonstrated by its award winning I Love Music initiative. I Love Music offers residents a personalised and immersive musical experience through customised music playlists delivered on iPods.
“We’ve all experienced it,” says Ellré Jacobs, Oceania’s Music Coordinator. “A song or piece of music that instantly takes us back to a place and time, and to the people who shared that moment with us.”
It’s those feel-good memories that are evoked by I Love Music. “The songs must be meaningful to the person,” emphasises Ellre who is currently undertaking a PhD in Music. “Favourite songs from our youth are a really powerful way to stimulate the brain and our emotions.” The use of headsets and iPods is also important she says, to create a truly engaging experience anywhere, anytime, without distractions.
The I Love Music programme was based a concept in the US where iPods were provided to rest home residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, but Oceania’s approach is based on the premise that anyone can benefit from it. I Love Music was initially trialled with residents at Lady Allum rest home in Auckland.
The residents and their families were delighted. In video footage, we see 90 year old Nina close her eyes, completely lost in the music, as she sings along to White Cliffs of Dover. “Nina’s music often reminds us of specific events,” says her daughter Philipa. “Sometimes we talk about my Dad who loved music too and the parties my parents had, the dancing. I admit to feeling quite tearful at times but for the best reasons.”
Shirley’s son Michael says I Love Music has made a noticeable difference to his mum’s outlook on life. “Shirley’s music is now a big part of her day. It’s improved her mental well-being and is giving her so much enjoyment.”
The trials were so successful, I Love Music is now being integrated into residents’ care plans and has been rolled out to Oceania rest homes around the country.