Be honest, we all struggle at some level with diversity and tolerance of differences. What is normal for one person may NOT be normal for another. What is acceptable by one person may NOT be acceptable to another.
Why? Because I am uniquely me and you are uniquely you.
Balancing the unique with diversity/tolerance is an ongoing process. It isn’t as easy as getting a group to sing Mr. Roger’s “You are My Friend, You are Special”. If only the words: “You are the only one like you. Like you, my friend, I like you.” were easy to make real.
Creating tolerance is uniquely challenging in senior living
For those living in senior living communities these differences can become amplified. By choice or by situation, people move into a community. They bring with them their personal preferences and their experiences. Rather than living alone or with their family, they are living in a community on new people, new rules, new ways of doing things. Many of these people have experienced loss. They may have lost their health, a spouse, an ability, their home.
There are times a senior living community sounds much live a preschool.The individual’s need to claim trumps the need to share. “This is MY table.” “That is MY bingo card.” “That’s not where YOU sit.”
Often in senior living centers, those who speak first or yell are the voices that are heard, the voices which receive a response. Those who voice their dislike for a menu item may have their preferences over those who chose not to share.
Adding music therapy to the mix
As music therapists we are able to bring our unique selves to meet each unique persons preferences. AND, we can connect these people in making music together. We often make the Mr. Roger’s song REAL in lives. It may only be for a moment or for a song, but we can do this. We also are able to give space/time for those with little or no voice.
Sometimes our sessions become a “buddy bench“. They are a place people can find commonalities while celebrating uniqueness.
What other senior living service provides this? You offer a unique service to a unique group of people.
On top of that, your music therapy session is unique from others. We may have similar goals or similar approaches, but our sessions are different. They are unique to you and your clients.
Sharing our unique voice is important.
As such, you are invited to be part of our Facebook community. Each week we share challenges, thoughts, resources, celebrations and items to share in social media. Come add your voice to the Music Sparks Community.