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By Sandra Stimson ADC, CALA, CDP
Executive Director,
Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care

Sandra Stimson has experience as a
corporate consultant, Corporate
Trainer and National Speaker. Her
experience is in long term care, as
Activity Director, Director of
Alzheimer's Units and Assistant
Administrator of a 550 bed long term
care county home.  She is
Co-founder of Pet Express Pet
Therapy Club, is a Life Replay
Specialist.  Sandra implements
dementia units nationwide.  Sandra
has written several books, Volunteer
Management Essentials for Long
Term Care and Pet Express Pet
Therapy Program. Sandra has been a
facilitator for Alzheimer's support
groups and is the Awards Chair for the
NJ Association of Activity
Professionals.  Sandra is the
Executive Director of
Council of Certified Dementia

Alternative Solutions in Long Term
Care offers resources for health care
professionals in many areas of
dementia care, care plans,
Snoezelen products, dementia
activity calendars, adult day care
calendars, sensory calendars,
reminisce videos for dementia,
activity books, and dates to
remember, party supplies,
resources and links.
What About Music?

How important is music? Music has been a part of most people’s lives for as long as they
can remember. Music is there in all stages of life. During childhood, teen years, young
adult and senior years, music plays a role.

With the shrinking dollars for recreation, music can provide a lot of bang for the dollar.
Music can make any activity more enjoyable and draw your people into the activity more
successfully. The mellow sounds of music can bring in a person who seldom participates. It
can make him or her into a toe-tapper.

Music can improve any activity. Holidays, birthdays and other life-changing events flow
better with music. By playing appropriate music, you can make even an exercise session
into an entertaining activity. Just don’t tell them it was good for them and they will ask when
the next time is.

One way to find out what kind of music meets people’s fancy is to ask what they listened to
when they were young. Everyone had his or her favorite 78’s and 45’s, or favorite radio
station that played the top 40. People who were in their teens in the 1940’s danced to the
sounds of Benny Goodman or the Dorsey brothers. Younger people remember Perry
Como, Elvis Presley, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones.

Group leaders can lead discussions on music. They can encourage people to talk about
where they were the last time they heard a piece of music. Or, what they think about when
they hear musical pieces or even nature sounds.

Giving people back their past with music can be a real pleasurable experience. Music can
be what gets someone started, keeps him or her involved, or makes an activity fun and
stimulating. There is no special formula for having a successful activity. Every group is
different just as every person needs to feel special. One way to reach people is through

There are a number of ways to find music for recreational activities. Your facility has music,
although sometimes you have to search for it. Individuals can bring in their own music. Or
you can call Recordings for Recovery at 1-800-798-1192. R4R is a non-profit music library
with more than 1200 different musical titles. It is available to both activity directors and
individuals. Our address is 5103 Eastman Place, Suite 101, Midland, MI, 48640-6723. You
can also contact us on the web at or by e-mailing us at

Michael Hoy
Executive Director
Recordings for Recovery
Copyright 2004-2005
The Activity Director's Office
All rights reserved
Music: "Peg of My Heart" furnished by Heart and Soul Music "Providing Quality Music for Nursing Homes"