Roanoke Symphony, helping assisted-living residents connect with memories through music

Posted on: May 10, 2018

“Doris Lewis is a resident at Brandon Oaks who participates in the 45-minute personal concerts performed by the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra,” reports Lezla Gooden on Wednesday (5/9) at TV station WSLS 10 (southwest Virginia). “Lewis said she received her bachelor’s degree in music, and … ‘Music has been … an important part of my life so it’s easy for me to get involved with the music.’ … The Roanoke Symphony began giving mini-concerts to residents of assisted living facilities a year ago. Now, the trios rotate between four facilities and perform weekly. The group has received training from a local music therapist … Lewis and other residents at Brandon Oaks suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia. One orchestra member said she has seen the music help residents recall times in their past.  ‘We ask them questions, because the music kind of opens this connective portal, you know? It allows them to communicate in a way that, maybe, if the music wasn’t there, they wouldn’t tap into those long-term memories,’ said Shaleen Powell, a violinist with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. Workers at Brandon Oaks said the weekly musical sessions have transformed the residents.”

Posted May 10, 2018