Add a little warmth to your sessions.
Clothing, drinks, food, shelter. It is the way we keep ourselves warm.
The way a space is designed. Decorators refer to some colors as warm. Other times it comes from a variety of textures especially the inclusion if soft textiles which we can touch or (literally wrap) wrap ourselves in.
A feeling (or more correctly a tied to a range of emotions.) That feeling might be a physical warmth as the result of exercise or activity. We’ve also hear anger being referenced as heat. Often we associate warmth with loving relationships or close friendships. Smiles, eye contact, a listening eye can aid this feeling.
While many of our sessions are first or foremost therapeutic, this need not equate to cold and sterile sessions. Even spaces that must be sterile are adding touches of warmth. For example, a warm blanket or some music might be offered as medical staff prepare your for surgery.
While all the aspects of warmth are not equally applicable to our sessions, some can be. And, some may be therapeutically called for.
We CAN observe our clients for signs or symptoms they are cold. Aging, diagnosis, medications, and many other things can and do contribute to our feeling hot or cold. Being responsive to their need to add a sweater or a lap rob or may even the need to remove them can greatly impact their ability to focus on the session.
We CAN consider texture in the instruments and manipulatives we offer. Have we brought equip in from a cold or hot space? Maybe we need time to allow it to adjust to an appropriate temperature.
Where we CAN, we may adjust thermostats, situate those who dislike or like being under an air vent.
We CAN incorporate physical movement in some situations to aid our clients in creating body heat. This includes playing instruments.
We CAN truly listen and attend to our clients. Making eye contact. Not multi-tasking. Listening without formulating a response. Maybe we can’t do this 100% of the time. But think of the trust it adds to a therapeutic relationship to do this a few minutes each session.
We CAN include songs they find “heart warming”. What speaks to one person may not speak to another. A client’s preference does play a role.
An occupational hazard is having songs relating to topics float to the surface. Here are a couple that speak to warmth.
I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm: This 1937 Irving Berlin song has been recorded by a ton of artists.
Warm and Tender Love: Recorded in 1966 by Percy Sledge and by Joan Baez in 1971 is another less familiar song.
What other warm songs do you like to share in senior living? List them in the comments below.