Training for Caregivers is ‘A Very Good Thing’

Caregivers have tough jobs.  Caregiver turnover averages 40%; stress and burnout are high on the list of factors for the swinging doors.  The right thing to do is to support these individuals.  They are on the front lines of providing care, in our nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities and PACE programs, day in and day out.  One way we can support them is through training and outreach in arts engagement.  Another way is to connect them with appropriate community arts engagement opportunities.

In March 2018 we presented “Singing for Elder Health and Wellness,” a 1.5 hour workshop designed to inform, inspire and empower caregivers.  During the course of the presentation, attendees attested to the lack of engagement that sometimes occurs between caregivers and the elderly.  “They’re on their phone or watching TV.  They don’t know how to talk to them and they don’t try.  Many just don’t care.”

Singing, painting, moving to music, playing instruments, sharing stories and poetry, making table gardens, traveling virtually via the internet all are stimulating, appropriate activities that allow for relaxation, learning new things/cognitive stimulation, and socializing are grounding and satisfying.  They offer opportunities for creative self-expression, something that is often missing for elders.  Our goal is to develop several training sessions on arts engagement focused on caregivers, but also serving artists, elders and others.  Today’s workshop was on singing.

We shared slides about brains,throats, diseases, songs, setup, resources, obstacles, warm-ups…then we broke out Whoopie.

Moods were lifted, spirits were high.  There was genuine sharing among the 20 participants.  Participants left with lots of resources for further study and information.  Survey scores were all very positive.  

Many caregivers have very little training.  For many it was not a career choice, it was a necessity.  These are the people who spend many of the final days with our mothers, fathers, grandparents and great-grandparents.  Let’s help them build their skills.  Let’s empower and encourage them to be engaged and to care.  The arts can help us do that. 

Attendee feedback:

“The most valuable part of the workshop was learning new ways to engage, the take home pamphlets, to help teach my aides, so they can engage more.” -Lauren C.,  CNA, Staffing Coordinator  

 “The most valuable thing about the workshop was inspiring staff to utilize the benefits of music.” -Lauren E., Activities Assistant

 “The speaker was so passionate about this topic.” -Rebecca, In-Home Respite Care Program Coordinator

 “Learning how music applies to special cases if very valuable.” -Nancy, Social Worker

 “Workshop includes eye opening tools (for music).” -Maya Rice

Please thank our sponsors and consider making a donation to support more caregiver training in 2018.  Thank you.


Special thanks to Aetna and Thistle Foundations for their support of our training programs. 

We’re presenting “The Arts and Person-Centered Care” at Atria Assisted Living, noon on March 15.  We are presenting sessions with SeniorCorp and Gentiva in March.  Email if you would like to know more or schedule training.