I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at last month’s 2016 Aging in America Conference/Boomer Summit in Washington, D.C. One of my speaking engagements was a co-presentation with SingFit that focused on, “Using Music and Technology to Improve Our Lives as We Age.” SingFit is a musical health technology company that works with memory and dementia care, assisted living, home health and other senior care communities to help improve seniors’ cognitive and physical health.

Both use cases and clinical research have shown just how powerful singing and music therapy can be for delivering healthy benefits to seniors, such as a reduced need for medications and elevated mood, among others. When we can reduce social isolation through active singing and engagement, it can result in a greater quality of life for our aging population. But SingFit isn’t the traditional music therapy program many providers and program coordinators may be familiar with, and it’s taking engagement to a much deeper level.

SingFit and CDW Healthcare Believe in the Power of Music as Medicine

CDW Healthcare has been partnering with SingFit for over a year to deliver a comprehensive technology kit that supports any SingFit program. We know every type of caregiving group or facility uses singing, because music is good for the soul and it’s also very therapeutic. But listening to music (through passive engagement) and actively participating in music therapy are two very different things.

So much of memory care is about reengaging those with Alzheimer’s or dementia — people who have in some ways become shells of who they used to be. How do you draw them out and help them access their existing capabilities? SingFit is unique in that it both prompts participants with lyrics, similar to karaoke (ensuring no one feels left out because they don’t know the words), and is meant to be used in a group, adding a vital social engagement element and helping residents feel connected. Seniors can hear the words they should sing next, and the songs are played at a controlled pace so movement can be incorporated. What results is truly amazing to see. I’ve seen nonverbal seniors participate in the SingFit application and start singing and talking more. These are transformational, tangible benefits that come from using SingFit and technology to engage seniors with active singing and movement. When a SingFit activity takes place in a community, every single person participates and moves to the music, creating a whole different sort of mental and emotional payoff. SingFit provides the multi-sensory engagement music therapy seniors need versus just listening to the radio or watching TV.

Understanding Music Therapy 2.0

Most senior care communities are tasked with providing activity programs that incorporate cognitive, social and physical skills for seniors, and the SingFit solution meets all three of these goals. Yet, most communities still view music therapy as singing along to songs or hiring someone to come to the facility and sing. It’s our goal to continue to educate the industry on truly understanding what music therapy and active versus passive music-making are, so we can harness the power of music and technology and help make seniors’ lives more enjoyable.

To learn more about how technology is transforming senior care, visit CDW.com/seniorcare.

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