Therapeutic harp hits the right note on International Volunteer Day

Ella Scott plays the harp to residents in aged care

On the eve of International Volunteer Day on Thursday 5 December, Ella Scott, a Carlisle resident and volunteer, is being recognised for introducing the unique concept of harp therapy into a residential aged care home in Lathlain.

Ella, a regular volunteer at not-for-profit home Mercy Place Lathlain and vice chairperson of the Harp Society of WA, visits seniors every Friday to play the soothing instrument, often at their bedside.

The Reverie Harp is a small instrument which can be played by anyone regardless of their musical background, and has been proven to offer a variety of health and wellness benefits, particularly to seniors.

“I became a volunteer at Mercy Place Lathlain as a result of regularly visiting a friend who lives there,” says Ella, who has a background in social work.  “Now I have the pleasure of playing the harp every week to residents. It’s such a soothing and calming instrument and everyone seems to enjoy hearing the notes drift along the corridors.

“I don’t consider myself particularly musical, in fact I didn’t learn to read music until I was 60 years old, but the longer I have been learning to play the harp, the more my confidence has grown and the more I can see its beneficial effect on both residents and staff alike, which is very rewarding to see.  

“Volunteering and playing the instrument I love has been a wonderful thing to be involved in during my retirement and I’d recommend volunteering to anyone with a few spare hours on their hands every week.”

Mercy Place Lathlain Service Manager, Neslie Libunao, says the Reverie Harp brings joy, pleasure and comfort to residents, as well as decreasing anxiety.

“Mercy Health is incredibly grateful to our very special volunteer Ella, who brings a great deal of joy to our seniors when she visits with her harp every Friday, in addition to our staff who love hearing it being played,” she says.

“On the eve of International Volunteer Day, we are reminded how fortunate we are to have such dedicated volunteers who are focused on supporting us to enrich the lives of those who choose to live with us, and helping older people to experience the pleasure of music and the therapeutic benefits it brings.”