Stretchy Band Movement Prop, Music, and Dementia

Stretchy Band Movement Prop, Music, and Dementia

 

 

A few years ago we went with our neighbor’s to a local assisted living facility. Caroline’s Dad lives there, and they head over once a month with their guitar, banjo, voices and meet some friends to put on a show for the residents.

 

Some of our children were able to join in the band that night, while some of us joined the audience. Music is a universal connector of people, isn’t it?

 

One lady in particular could sing every song, and belt it out perfectly.  Yet – once the music stopped, it’s as if her brain froze. 

 

The power of music on the brain fascinates me. I am so glad there is more research being done and those of you that are working  to bring care and awareness.

 

This post will showcase some ways you can use the stretchy band in dementia care.

Music Stretchy Band Dementia

The Connect-a-Stretchy Band and Dementia

The Connect-a-Stretchy Band from Bear Paw Creek, is a staple in my bag of tricks! I love it because it can be used with all age groups to meet a variety of goals.  An indispensable feature is that it can be re-sized easily and immediately to fit the size of your groups.  One of my favorite places to use the Connect-a-Stretchy Band is with my groups who have dementia. I often walk into these facilities to find people sitting together in a room, but not interacting with each other.  They may be sleeping, watching t.v., confused, depressed or irritable.  The Connect-a-Stretchy Band is an invaluable tool to help clients who have difficulty socializing, become engaged and “connected” to others.

After a warm up period of singing familiar songs and perhaps, a Hello, song, I introduce the Connect-a-Stretchy Band.  While sitting in a circle with everyone holding it, I strum the autoharp to encourage gross motor movements – up & down, in & out, side to side.  We’ll move and sing to familiar songs like Edelweiss or Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  I also use recorded music so I can also participate and help guide movements.  People who are sleeping or perhaps confused, are automatically connected and supported by their neighbor’s movements. It’s not unusual to see clients wake up, begin smiling and singing. It’s important to remember to keep movements simple and take into account health issues that may impact their abilities such as arthritis. However, once they hear a favorite song or dance, you may find your clients moving to the beat in ways they haven’t in years.

Head on over to Rhythm Works Music Therapy and see the rest of Linda’s ideas (including some polkas!)

 

[Tweet “@RhythmWorksMT shares the way they use the stretchy band with dementia care.”]

Is Music the Key to Trigger Memories?

This beautiful article features the stretchy band in use at an amazing event in August 2016.  The workshop was created by Marigrace Becker of the Memory and Brain Wellness Center, part of the UW Medicine Neurosciences Institute. Its underlying purpose, she said, is to empower people living with memory loss and their care partners to become social activists in raising  in community awareness. 

Activities were designed for people of all ages and abilities. In a seated circle dance led by Susan Wickett-Ford of Silver Kite Community Arts, everyone held onto a stretchy band of rainbow-colored fabric, which they moved up and down and side to side to a classic Breton folk song. The circle’s members had to work together and rely on each other to maintain the dance.

Life with dementia_ Seniors expand children’s awarenessBrain wellness center creates workshop to enhance community understanding and empower people with memory loss

I agree wholeheartedly with Becker when she states: “Ultimately, I want to see more and more of these workshops happening all around the world, simultaneously,” Becker said. “The time has come to recognize that people living with memory loss can lead the way in building communities that are welcoming, understanding and accessible to all.”

Take a moment to see some clips from their day. Truly inspiring.

 

Movement, Dance, and Dementia Resource

From professional papers to advice and music resources, you may want to take a look at this “Movement, Dance and Dementia Resources” page. 

A few highlighted quotes from the article:

There is a growing recognition that exposure to the arts can help dementia sufferers to reconnect with themselves and even slow their rate of decline. Increasingly, music is helping doctors and carers reach those who have become stranded by this debilitating condition.

These 60-minute sessions reveal previously hidden aspects of the patients to their carers; likes and dislikes, talents and memories – it all helps piece together the jigsaw of an identity obscured by illness. “Perhaps that patient reveals a love for a film or a place, a time or an event; something that carers didn’t know about but can use in their communication with that patient, another way to connect with a seemingly closed personality. It’s a glimpse of the real person underneath,” said Meynell.

Some of the movement props suggested are: scarves, feathers, stretchy bands, parachutes, balloon, hats, and fans. 

I hope this post will encourage your engagement with sufferers of dementia.  I hope we can continue to integrate the aged with the young, we all benefit greatly from multi-generational activities.

Save

Learn about stretchy band sizes and options.

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

Save

#AMTA16 Giveaways

Where to Find Bear Paw Creek #AMTA16

 

 

Another year is quickly flying by.  This week brings the annual music therapy conference. I’m excited to share where you’ll be able to find Bear Paw Creek’s movement props and instrument storage bags.

 

#amta16 giveaways from Bear Paw Creek

Music Therapy Ed Happenings

Kat from Music Therapy Ed reached out to us a few months ago to see if we wanted to give some giveaways again this year. Of course we did! 

They have a whole lot of fun going on and from videos show casing their booth in years past, it’s always a PARTY at their booth!  They are doing a scavenger hunt again and have lots of great giveaways lined up. Including t-shirts for the first 20 VIPs to stop by.  Read all about it in their post:   #AMTA16 Scavenger Hunt & Prize Details

 

You like our T-shirt design? We're giving away free T-shirts to the first 20 VIP subscribers who stop by our booth at #amta16. Will we see you there?

 

Save

Save

[Tweet “Music therapists make a difference! Are you heading to #AMTA16?”]

Music Therapy Connections Excitement

It’s through Kat from Music Therapy Ed that I ever got connected with Rachel Rambach of Music Therapy Connections.  It’s been exciting support each other.  She provides great music to use with our props, and we supply the props!

This fall she released “Songs for Movement Props.”    This inspired me to put together a set of movement props that will be added to the site soon.  All of you attending the American Music Therapy Conference will get the first sneak peak at them!

The set will include 1 connect-a-stretchy band, Balloon Ball, set of 13 Chiffon Scarves, and a set of 4″ square bean bags.  The total MSRP is $80 but they will be 10% off at conference selling for $72. She will have limited supply of them available, so make sure to stop by.  They all work great with the songs as listed here:

  • “Stretch in the Morning”
  • “In a Circle”
  • “‘Round the Rainbow”
  • “Grow Flower Grow”
  • “Movin’ in the Circle”
  • “I Have a Beanbag”
  • “Beanbag in My Hand”
  • “Bop Bop the Balloon Ball”
  • “I Have a Balloon Ball”
  • “See the Scarf”
  • “Colors of the Rainbow”
  • “We’re Gonna Wave”

Movement Prop Set for Listen and Learn Music from Bear Paw Creek

So stop by at the Music Therapy Connections booth and sign up to win a set packaged in our “Music Therapy Makes a Difference” tote bag!

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

West Music

You will also be able to find more of our movement props at West Music’s booth.  They have been selling our products since 2001! 

They carry the stretchy band, bean bags, hoop and ribbon streamers, balloon ball, Qchord Gig Bag, and the Tone Chime Case.

Make sure to stop by and check them out and tell them you appreciate them supporting American Made products.  When you buy our products you are supporting USA based manufacturing and local small businesses.

Bear Paw Creek is thankful for our partnership with West Music for fifteen years.

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

Ribbons and Dancing and Scarves! Oh, My!

 

Ribbons and Dancing and Scarves! Oh, My!

Jenette Clay is a blogger, SEO content and podcast show notes writer. She loves dancing with her little kids and annoying her older ones. She admires Janet Stephens and all that she has done as a wife, a mom and owner of Bear Paw Creek.

 

Have you ever danced with ribbons or watched someone else (whether they were dance professionals or your kids in your living room)? Here’s a list of songs and activities you can use with kids and in elder care.
 
The effect of the fabric streaming out behind as you move is fascinating and adds dimension to motion – ramping up the fun quotient exponentially.

Hold an impromptu dance party in for your kids

Visual Music

Fluttering waves

Swirling rainbows
Giggles, pirouettes, motion music
Purple…chasing blue…chasing gold overlap in dancing ripples
A final bow
Collapsing into piles of laughter and smiles
 
Granted this would be a scene in my living room, not a well-organized class or a performance at the ballet, but ribbons and scarves, music and dancing are a feast for the senses. Have you ever seen a Chinese scarf dance (or the dances with dresses which have the long silky sleeve ribbons)? The dancers move gracefully as their arm movements cause the ribbons to ripple around them like water or twirl above their heads cascading back down again as they weave a tapestry of color on the stage. It is mesmerizing.
 
 Movement Scarf Set of 12, 6 colors
If you’ve ever danced with ribbons or scarves, you know how much fun and fascinating it is to see what shapes your motions can conjur up. You don’t have to be a professional to enjoy it.
[Tweet “Ribbons and scarves, music and dancing are a feast for the senses.”]

I’ve got some resources for you!

If you need ideas to for activities to get people moving in elder care, at school, for youth groups or in your living room, I have a line up of links to get you inspired. I also have a list of activities and songs you can use with scarves and streamers that you can print out and take with you. Very handy!

So, here we go:

  1. I like the fabulously fun and creative Beverly Meyer. She calls herself The Music Lady and you can watch what she does here, on Youtube, to see what a blast kids and adults can have singing and dancing together.
  2. Miss Jen, Children’s Librarian, sings All the fish are swimming in the water (illustrating a song that makes great use of the effects in the movement of the scarves.) on Youtube
  3. Here is a great Pinterest Board with plenty lots of video suggestions for songs and activities using scarves by curated by Dana and Lindsey, Children’s Librarians.
  4. I love these ideas from the Future Librarian Superhero
  5. Great for the church nursery and for moms at home. I found this, on Youtube – perfect for babies and toddlers.
  6. One of my favorite songs is from Macaroni Soup, Dancing Scarf Blues! It’s pretty jazzy and I think would be a great resource for activities directors involved in Elder Care. Brighten up the lives of people in nursing homes by getting out a batch of beautiful scarves and putting on some music to dance to.

Save

Take a look at those sites, get the list, and tell us what you think. How long has it been since you’ve danced with ribbons, streamers or scarves? How long has it been since you’ve danced with ribbons, streamers or scarves? Do you have some songs or activities to add to this list? I’d love to hear from you and have you add your suggestions to mine!

Activities and Songs for Scarves and Streamers

 

The Influence of Mister Rogers

The Influence of Mr. Rogers

This blog post will be a bit different than my norm, so I hope you’ll allow my ramblings a bit.  I hope it encourages you in your work with the individuals you serve, young to the aged. It all started when a video clip on Mr. Rogers came through on my Facebook feed.  The video got my thinking wheels spinning.  First it reminded me of how much I loved Mr. Rogers as a kid. Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, and Reading Rainbow (did you know it’s coming back?) were a big influence on me as a young child. Second, it made me go to my lovely Amazon Prime videos, and play an episode for my little ones.  I just happened to pick an episode that brought me to tears again.  Season 1, episode 12 “Making an Opera, How People Make Sweaters.”   While I was sewing hoop streamers, and the kids were watching it, I learned that it was Fred Rogers’ mother that knit all the sweaters he wore!  Perhaps you’ll take the time to watch the complete episode, but if not, here’s a two minute clip of him talking about the sweaters.

Mr. Rodgers Sweaters made by his mom

I can’t begin to describe all the thoughts that have gone through my head by watching that episode and the following one from my Facebook feed.  I never imagined the beauty that creating the products Bear Paw Creek has brought to my life, by connecting with people all over the country/world = neighbors. While I am sewing up products, I love to imagine and think about the hands that will touch them and who will use them. I loved how he always showed how things were made, as I was always creating things, even as a young child.  The “Neighborhood of Make Believe” was an inspiration and for a while I dreamed of going to California to be a puppeteer. I didn’t realize until my children started watching Mr. Rogers, that his voice was behind most of those characters! Below are some quotes that really struck me.  As you are reading them,  think about it beyond television, as really, wherever we are placed in life – we are the influencers and shapers of the people we meet. “Fame is  a four letter word, and like tape, or zoom, or face, or pain, or life, or love, what absolutely matters is what we do with it.  I feel like those of us in television are chosen to be servants. It doesn’t matter what our particular job is, we are chosen to help meet the deeper needs of those who watch and listen. Day and night.” “..by doing whatever we can to bring courage to those whose lives move near our home. By treating our neighbor at least as well as we treat our selves, and allowing that to inform everything that we produce.” “Through television we have the choice of encouraging others to demean this life or cherish it, in creative, imaginative ways.” The video features a clip from a TV Hall Of Fame ceremony where Jeff Erlanger, who appeared on Mister Rogers Neighborhood in 1981, surprises Fred Rogers. During Jeff’s appearance in the program, Mr. Rogers had changed his life through a very simple yet important message. And now after almost 20 years, he has come onstage to thank and appreciate Mr. Rogers’s effort of changing the world through kindness. It’s about a ten minute video clip, but well worth the time.

Mr Rodgers Influence

I am humbled to be able to connect with so many wonderful people that are influencing and shaping the lives of so many through music, movement, and being an influencer.  Thank YOU all!

Fighting cancer and music therapy

Fighting Cancer with Music Therapy

On Dec. 3, I took our five year old daughter to the doctor as she just hadn’t been feeling well for a few weeks. Very pale and puny with occasional pains.  Within 15 minutes of being at the doctors, he sent us to the ER as her blood counts were very low.  Within the next three hours we were told she had a type of Leukemia and we were transported to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City.
By the following afternoon we had a diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).  If you have to have leukemia – this is the one to have.They have a 90% cure rate.
Why do I tell you all of this?  Business may be a little different over the next few months as we fight cancer.  BUT the main reason is – during this process we have been connected with music therapist, Liesel Stephens MT-BC!
Some of you know – Bear Paw Creek was originally founded to create products for music therapists and I have a love for their profession, who they are, and what they do.

I never imagined we would be on the receiving end of it – but we are.  The first day she came was about 10 minutes into  a new chemo treatment our little one had to have before we were released from the hospital.  My husband and I were tense and nervous as the possible side effect sheet was down right scary.  In comes Ms. Liesel!  I know Piper enjoyed the time playing drums, reading books and singing – but it made a huge difference in us as parents as we could feel the tension release from us and the room.   Another fun part was that Liesel asked Piper is she had any favorite songs.  She said the “Wheels on the Bus” book we do at our circle time at home.  You guessed it – Liesel pulled the same book out!  It sounds a lot better with an accomplished guitar player and singer!

We will be making weekly trips to KC for the next months.  Our first clinic day and second – Liesel showed up.

It’s been an amazing experience to actually be on the receiving end of music therapy, and I am humbled by it.  I also get a kick out of seeing a traveling music therapist live in action. You guys truly ROCK!

Receiving music therapy with Liesel Stephens

Our first experience with music therapist Liesel Stephens.

Connecting Circles and an Epic Fail

In this blog post I share some observations about connecting through circles, and I reveal how my brain had a total DISconnect!

Last week Kindermusik released a blog post entitled: Music & Movement: Why We Dance in Circles.

Here is a taste of what is in the article.

“Circle dances come from the wonderful tradition of communities dancing together, a tradition which is timeless in origin and yet relevant today in its capacity to foster togetherness. Dancing in a circle actually benefits the mind, body, and spirit.” (Michaelsen)

Dance Circle Connecting Kids TogetherThis excited me, as our stretchy band and connect-a-band are obviously created to be used in a circle.  Thinking about circles and how many places we use them in our life and community has gotten me thinking.

Stretchy Band CircleDrum circles, circle time, circle dances, rings, and so much more.  I used to lead a 4-H group, and sitting in a circle changed the group dynamics.  It does bring togetherness and it is hard to “hide” in a circle.

If you’ve been reading about the connect-a-band, you know it’s been a meeting of the minds, a collaborative creation. Read about it in this post.

Part of the excitement is how many different groups and communities can be connected through the connect-a-band.  One of my recent orders for the connect-a-band was for 4 small and an 8 Hub.  The customer’s response to a question is exactly what we are hoping to achieve.

“I appreciate your email to me regarding the choice!  Great customer service! I think I would prefer one large bag. I chose the connect a-band option because I teach Early Childhood Ed., and thought when I do home visits, the small would be perfect.  When we do small groups, perhaps a medium would be best, but it’s fun to take multiple groups to the playground and use a giant one with a bunch of children.  I think the connect-a-bands are the perfect way to accommodate all scenarios.  I’m excited for them to arrive!”

But then …… EPIC FAIL.

“I just received my Connect-a-Bands and there is a major problem.  3 of the bands have the same clip on both ends making it impossible to connect them to anything.  The fourth one has the other half of the clip on both ends.  This is not what I wanted.  I though they each were to have one male and one female chip on each end so you could use just one or connect them all together?  They won’t even work with the hub. Please let me know what you would like me to do.  I am very disappointed.”

What?  How could I have accomplished that!  Through production there are four different steps where I physically touch the buckle ends. How could I have missed that?

Connect-a-Band BuckleMy only answer – a total brain DISCONNECT paired with my tendency of being too speedy.

Being connected to my own brain, to others in my life, community, etc has to be intentional or I can miss so many things. Those circles can connect us physically, but also socially. Google is pretty smart, those google+ circles!

Just in case your curious, I offered the customer a total refund or to send correct ones with connectable ends.  She chose the correct ones. I enjoyed talking to her on the phone and hope I can redeem myself back to her original excitement over the product.

How will you connect this week with those in your life or community? Be intentional!

Why not start by connecting with? Leave a comment!

There are no products