Sunrise Senior Living and SingFit™ Strike a Chord with Therapeutic Music

Sunrise Senior Living  |  November 27, 2018
Sunrise Senior Living and SingFit™ Strike a Chord with Therapeutic Music
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In communities across the U.S., Sunrise is enhancing residents’ wellbeing through individualized programming that includes the use of an award-winning therapeutic music technology, SingFit™.

SingFit was created by Musical Health Technologies specifically for older adults in senior living communities. The technology uses songs and evidence-based music programming to help support participants’ overall wellbeing with an engaging exercise that activates both the mind and body.

“We’re constantly looking at ways to innovate and enhance our already robust evidence-based Sunrise Live With Purpose® programming, and our residents and team members are pleased to have even more options for meaningful musical engagement,” said Rita Altman, senior vice president of Memory Care & Program Services for Sunrise. “We incorporate music into many aspects of our programming, with things like instruments in therapeutic group activities and guest musical performances. SingFit’s therapeutic music sessions are especially helpful in the support we provide to residents living in our memory care neighborhoods, by offering both cognitive and physical stimulation that engages the body, mind, and spirit.”

SingFit was introduced into the first Sunrise community in the fall of 2017 and is now in use at more than 260 Sunrise communities in the U.S. The technology helps to create enriching group musical experiences as a key element of Sunrise’s Live With Melody programming for both assisted living and memory care residents.

Drawing on many of the most popular hits from past decades, SingFit features more than 400 songs, including classics from Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, and Nat King Cole. Trained Sunrise team members use SingFit to lead residents through a series of interactive singing sessions as often as three or more times per week.

“With SingFit’s lyric-cuing feature, participants, including individuals with memory or vision loss, can sing and interact with their favorite songs,” explained SingFit Chief Clinical Officer and certified music therapist, Andy Tubman. “The process of singing on a regular basis activates the entire brain, helping with positive neurochemical and hormonal regulation, speech, and focus for people with cognitive decline. Overall,” Tubman continued, “initial data shows that SingFit participants experience significant elevation in mood and engagement levels during and after sessions.”

“Residents who find it difficult to concentrate on one thing for a significant period of time become captivated while participating in SingFit,” said Lindsey Mesmer, activities and volunteer coordinator at Sunrise at Pinehurst, CO. “We observe that residents who formerly presented minimal verbal skills sing full sentences, and residents who tend to make physically repetitive movements slow down to begin following our movements. We’re always looking for programs that benefit everyone, regardless of ability. It is so important for each of our residents to experience personalized care and service in ways that meet their physical, mental, and emotional needs.”

One example was seen in assisted living resident Al at Sunrise at Webb Gin, GA, in the Atlanta area, who was often quiet and reserved. Since he began regularly attending SingFit sessions with his wife, Mary, this fall, his level of social interaction around the community has increased, as the music program has helped him to express himself more freely. At a recent session, he revealed his hidden talent for singing with a moving rendition of a song by The Platters. His soulful tenor brought Sunrise team members and fellow participants alike to tears.

“As we recognize National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month this November, we celebrate the power of music to outsmart memory loss,” said Altman. “We know that music is closely tied with cognitive health. Our approach to integrating music-centered activities in our communities as part of Live With Melody offers personalized opportunities for residents to reminisce, and SingFit’s lyric-prompting complements Sunrise’s Principles of Service, which include preserving dignity and encouraging independence.”

Live With Melody is one of Sunrise’s eight signature Live With Purpose programs that offer opportunities for residents to engage, enjoy, express, learn, and grow every day. These programs are designed to bring together residents, team members, families, and volunteers and turn each day into an opportunity for seniors to Live With Purpose.

As part of their holistic approach to caregiving and fostering connections, Sunrise communities also employ the Validation Method for residents with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia. Developed by renowned author and social worker Naomi Feil, Validation is an empathetic method of communicating with seniors experiencing memory loss, using both verbal and nonverbal techniques to help them feel heard and connected. Caregivers using Validation help reduce stress and enhance dignity among older adults with memory loss by affirming their feelings and going on the memory-loss journey with them.

Attend a SingFit Session

If you would like to visit a Sunrise community and experience a SingFit session in person, we invite you to call the community nearest you to set up a time for a visit.


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