The conversations of life

Drumming workshop for aged care residents hits the right note


The program at Whiddon’s Belmont and Redhead facilities in the NSW Hunter region is the brainchild of former music teacher Jo Cook.

After becoming involved in a university research program exploring using music and movement as therapy for people with dementia, she designed the fortnightly workshops to encourage residents to interact, keep active and boost their mood – and it’s got its fans with the group tripling in size since the program began in October 2017.

Residents use everything from buckets, drumsticks and ribbons to balloons, scarves and beanbags to challenge them in their movements, all set to music from 40s, 50s and 60s.

“It encourages the residents to move in ways they don’t in their everyday activities,” Jo says. “Often residents will comment on the selection and even have a discussion reminiscing about their experience with a particular piece of music.”

Just another example of providers thinking outside the square when it comes to keeping residents connected.

Workshop teacher Jo Cook.

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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