Lakehead University Music Program Helps Improves Quality of Life for Residents in Long-Term Care Homes

(December 2, 2011 – Thunder Bay, ON) Eleven students enrolled in Lakehead University’s Department of Music course, Creative Community Engagements in Music, have the unique opportunity to apply their knowledge to create a program for residents in two local long-term care homes.

Students and instructors Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans and Professor Lise Vaugeois, are working closely with the staff at St. Joseph’s Care Group at Bethammi Nursing Home and Hogarth Riverview Manor to organize music activities with residents. Music has been shown to improve the quality of life for residents of long term care homes and programming is being offered in groups and on an individual basis.

Dr. Dean Jobin Bevans says, “Research has demonstrated the benefits of music to older people who have chronic illness and dementia. We want to help long-term care homes create music resources that add to life enrichment for their residents.”

“The new music program in long-term care homes provides an opportunity to build relationships between youth and older people, enriching the lives of both groups,” says professor Lise Vaugeouis. “Our students are learning about the aging process and also contributing to the community.”

In April, when the music course comes to an end, the music activities will be evaluated and lessons learned will be documented in a toolkit of music resources that will be shared nationally with other long-term care homes. Dr. Margaret McKee and Stacy Saukko, a graduate student in Social Work, are leading the evaluation.

This music project is part of a five-year program of research lead by Dr. Mary Lou Kelley from Lakehead University’s Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health. The overall research aims to improve quality of life for long-term care residents and create palliative care programs in long-term care homes. The research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) with St. Joseph’s Care Group as a key partner. For more information on this project please visit the project website

“Palliative care goes beyond good pain and symptom management,” says Dr. Kelley. “It strives to meet the psychological, social, and spiritual care needs of people. Music can enrich peoples’ social and spiritual lives on a daily basis.”

- 30 -

Media: Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans, Chair, School of Music at Lakehead University; Dr. Mary Lou Kelley, Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health at Lakehead University; and Nadia Thatcher, Director, Bethammi Nursing Home, St. Joseph’s Care Group; are available for interview. For more information or to schedule an interview please contact Janine Chiasson, Communications Officer, at 807-343-8177 or

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for a multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking. Over 8,280 students and 2,000 faculty and staff learn and work at campuses located in Orillia, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Lakehead University promotes innovative research that supports local and regional socio-economic needs. In Orillia, development continues on building a campus that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards.

About St. Joseph’s Care Group
St. Joseph's Care Group (SJCG)is a leader in Northwestern Ontario in the provision of Complex Care & Physical Rehabilitation, Long-Term Care and Mental Health & Addiction Services. St. Joseph’s Care Group has approximately 1700 employees and over 400 volunteers.  With an annual operating budget over $125M, SJCG is one of the top employers in Thunder Bay. To learn more about SJCG, visit the web site at

CERAH, the Centre for Education and Research on Aging & Health, is an internationally recognized leader in aging and health. This year, CERAH marks two decades of research, education and innovative community partnerships that advance the health and social care of people as they age. For more information, visit

Last updated December 02, 2011

News RSS Feed Stay Informed - Subscribe to our RSS Feed