$20,500 Ontario Trillium Foundation grant helps music program bring generations together

Music has many benefits when it comes to our health and well-being, but the role of music in bringing generations together is less understood. New funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation will support research exploring how an innovative music program brings together young children, their parents, and older adults living in long-term care.

As we age, social circles change and often decline leading some older adults to experience feelings of social isolation and loneliness.  Participating in the arts can improve mood and overall quality of life, while intergenerational programs can help build social connections and enhance well-being for young and old alike. However, we don’t yet know very much about the benefits of combining these approaches.

Dr. Kate Dupuis, Schlegel Innovation Leader in Arts and Aging at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging and the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research, is partnering with team members at the Village of Riverside Glen, a long-term care and retirement home in Guelph, to try out an innovative new music program.

The program is unique because it engages three generations – young children, their parents, and older adults. Led by a music therapist, sessions run weekly for 12 weeks. The program fosters a sense of community and connection not only by bringing local residents and their children into long-term care, but by offering opportunities to be creative together and to share in the experience of making music.

To date, there has been very little research on the benefits of arts-based intergenerational programs, particularly those involving long-term care residents and very young children. This new funding will enable Dr. Dupuis to evaluate the program and to better understand its impacts on residents, parents and children.

The project will kick off in 2019, and a project wrap-up event will be held in the fall in order to share the project findings with community members and those interested in offering similar programs in their own retirement and long-term care homes.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations.  OTF awarded more than $120 million to some 700 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.

For more information about this project, please contact Carrie Perkins (Director of Recreation and Volunteer Services, Village of Riverside Glen) at carrie.perkins@schlegelvillages.com.

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