Ray receives the gift of music

agewell music therapy

Ray McSweeney with Girrawheen Day Centre Coordinator, Rossella Frezza (L) and Music Therapist Winifred Beavers (R) along with Olive and John Evans from the Brighton Lions Club.

The generosity of the Bayside community has given Uniting AgeWell client Ray McSweeney access to a music therapy program that will provide relief from day-to-day mental health issues.

Mr McSweeney, aged 66, lives in supported residential services accommodation and attends the Uniting AgeWell Girrawheen Centre three days a week.

Throughout April, Tuccibrown café partnered with the Brighton Lions Club to donate thirty cents from every coffee sold towards the Girrawheen Centre.

On Thursday 14 July, members of the Brighton Lions Club presented an iPod to Mr McSweeney at the Girrawheen Centre. The iPod was filled with his personalised favourites from artists such as Santana and Meatloaf. This was followed by a celebration at Tuccibrown café.

Uniting AgeWell Girrawheen Centre coordinator Rossella Frezza said research has found familiar music greatly benefits people living with dementia and other mental illnesses. Music can help ease symptoms of restlessness, anxiety or agitation.

Through the Music For David program, a music therapist works closely with clients to develop a list of music that personally resonates with them.

This also supports carers by giving them short-term respite from the demands of their loved ones.

“Since taking part in music therapy at the centre, we’ve seen a steady improvement in Ray’s mental health status,” Ms Frezza said.

“He actively takes part in the program and often helps choose creative materials for the group.

“Now, the iPod filled with his favourite tunes will give him respite from his disability and daily grind.”

The Music for David program was set up in memory of Rev David Hodges AM, a former minister of Toorak Uniting Church who passed away in 2012. He was actively involved in community programs and passionate about using art to enhance the spiritual life of people.

Ms Frezza said Uniting AgeWell Girrawheen Centre was extremely grateful to the Brighton Lions Club and Tuccibrown for the donated funds.

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