Therapeutic effect of music helps seniors in care

It’s fair to say that, by anyone’s standard, 26-year-old Grace Tan has a busy life.

The Claremont resident and current University of Western Australia student who hails from Malaysia is studying for a combined masters and PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology, after completing her undergraduate honours program at the University two years ago.

But her full study program hasn’t stopped her from becoming a valued volunteer at Mercy Place Mont Clare, where she visits every week to play the piano for the resident seniors.

“I really wanted to give back to the community in some way and I really love helping to make people happy,” says Grace, who admits that she gets as much pleasure out of spending time with the residents as they do from listening to her play the not-for-profit home’s grand piano. 

“I’m really pleased to play any songs the residents request and I’ll stay longer if they want me to. It really is wonderful to spend time with the older generation. The seniors love the music and it also helps them to reminisce about their younger years.” 

Mercy Place Mont Clare Service Manager, Joan Lowney, says the therapeutic effect of music for seniors, particularly those living with Alzheimer’s and other related conditions, couldn’t be overstated. 

“Generally speaking, music is an incredible trigger for emotions and memories from our past to emerge,” she says.

“Extensive research indicates that singing is mentally and physically beneficial in so many ways, and we are very grateful to Grace for choosing to volunteer with us, and assisting residents to continue to enjoy music.” 

Mercy Health is a Catholic not-for-profit provider of care, founded by the Sisters of Mercy and grounded in a 2000-year tradition of caring for those in need.  The organisation provides health and aged care services throughout Victoria, southern New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.  

In Western Australia, the organisation cares for more than 300 people across six residential aged care homes, with an additional 78 retirement living units.