In South Dakota, musicians lend color to retirees' stories

AP News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2015 3:55 PM
In South Dakota, musicians lend color to retirees' stories

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Residents at a retirement community in South Dakota can share their life memories with others thanks to a new program that integrates music as therapy for seniors.

The program organized by an area health system and the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra gives seniors a chance to create and maintain social connections.

On a December afternoon, 87-year-old Floyd Beukelman was the first resident of the Avera Prince of Peace Retirement Community in Sioux Falls to share his memories, with help from a narrator. Those include having a ruptured appendix, meeting his wife and surviving a fiery crash. Every set of stories was followed by live music.

Avera Health music therapist Mark Vande Braak says such events can help seniors identify with each other and strengthen a sense of community.