Funded through a grant from the Ministry of Health, and managed by BC Care Providers Association, the Seniors Safety and Quality Improvement Program (SSQIP) provided $10 million over three years to 188 publicly-funded long-term care homes in British Columbia to purchase new equipment intended to enhance safety and quality of life for seniors.
The Good Samaritan Christenson Village in Gibsons, B.C. was one of the homes to benefit from SSQIP funding.
In August 2019, the care home received notice of their successful grant application and hit the ground running with their Intergenerational Music Creation Program. The first session ran from September 2019 to December 2019 for 10 weeks.
“It was a program that was mutually beneficial for all participating,” says Bruce Devereux, Recreation & Volunteer Manager at Christenson Village. “Children and adults involved in the music creation activities demonstrated such a great level of engagement with the residents of Christenson Village who also loved the interaction, the movement, and the social connection.”
The grant allowed the home to hire a music therapist and purchase a wide assortment of music creation gear and instruments that will continue to be used after the program. Registered Music Therapist Danika Wulff facilitated the sessions which included eight children (ages two to four) and eight residents of Christenson Village.
“The wonderful thing is, once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted we will be able to launch into another round of intergenerational programs,” says Devereux. “The demand is most certainly there from parents in the community who wish to enrol their children in our next session. It will fill up fast!”
The second part of the funding went towards a Sound Creation/Creative Storytelling Project. This project would overlap with the Intergenerational Music Creation Program.
The project started in October 2019 and was extended until November 2020 due to COVID-19. Music Therapist Danika Wulff also led this project and focused on Christenson Village resident, Gail, and her wonderful poetry.
Gail has advanced multiple sclerosis and can only move one finger on her right hand which she uses to create her poetry — a very slow and determined process. She also has very limited vocal abilities, so she handpicked eight care staff at Christenson Village whom she felt matched the feel of each piece to read. The poetry was recorded with equipment purchased through the grant.
Gail and Danika used the audio equipment to generate original soundscapes and music scores for each of the recorded poems.
“On November 16th, we had an official socially-distanced launch celebration and it was amazing! Staff, residents, and Gail’s sister were deeply touched by the recordings,” says Devereaux.
As with the intergenerational music gear, Devereux says, equipment purchased for the Creative Storytelling Project will be put to good use beyond the program. The team has several recording project concepts in the wings.
“Many thanks from all of us at Good Samaritan Christenson Village to everyone at BC Care Providers Association for helping us launch these projects. We truly believe they have great scalability and transferability for future projects,” says Devereaux.
An episode of “The Creatively Engaging,” a podcast by Devereaux, tells the story of this creative journey with Gail and Danika. Listen to it here: www.thecreativelyengaging.com.
Photos provided by Good Samaritan Christenson Village.