Residents of Armstrong’s Heaton Place Retirement Community connect over coffee and music. (Carrie O’Neill - Contributed)

Residents of Armstrong’s Heaton Place Retirement Community connect over coffee and music. (Carrie O’Neill - Contributed)

Armstrong seniors connect through music

Heaton Place residents dive into some good coffee and better music

Special to the Morning Star

“Where words fail, music speaks,” a quote from Hans Christian Anderson, says it all.

Some residents of Heaton Place experienced this when attending last week’s Saturday morning activity called Coffee and Conversations with Carrie.

“Residents gather in a circle for coffee, cookies and personal connections,” Heaton Place Retirement Community resident relations coordinator Carrie O’Neill said. “In this space, anyone can join in or just listen, while others may feel inclined to share on the topic being discussed and how it relates to their own lives.”

Fascinating ways music affects your mood and mind was the topic of discussion.

“It was very powerful,” O’Neill said.

The circle started out by taking a moment to be calm and still. The song Jambalaya by Daniel O’Donnell began playing on the speaker: “Goodbye Joe, he gotta go, me oh my oh…”

As the song played, the energy in the room changed. Residents’ toes began to tap, smiles appeared on their faces and even some were singing along. There was a pause in the music and then we heard bagpipes playing the classic hymn of Amazing Grace.

You can imagine how the room and mood changed; tears and heartfelt memories surfaced.

Some residents were able to open up and share their personal memories that were associated with this song.

It was very touching. Next, Jesus Loves Me came on and when one of the women in the circle was asked to share how that song affected her, she replied with tears rolling down her face; “My mom used to sing me that song every single morning before I went to school, I think she intended on reminding me that I am loved.”

With a pause in the room for everyone to be grounded again, the music continued to play. Good ole’ Johnny Cash began to play, “Get Rhythm… when you get the blues.”

With laughter, one of our fellows shared about an experience he had, related to this song… it involved getting bucked off his pony.

The conversations were very impactful for everyone. At just the right time to close out our time together perfectly, Irish resident Sam graciously sang a beautiful Irish song, “Mountains of Mourne.”

Music, laughter, recaptured memories, connection and feeling uplifted were all real experiences we shared together. Next Saturday will be something different, but whatever the topic is, without a doubt it will bring folks together and connected!

In these challenging pandemic times, it’s important to keep your toolbox full of helpful tools you can reach for when feeling down or sad.

Music is certainly one of those tools. It is scientifically proven that music stimulates emotions through specific circuits. Listening to music increases our levels of dopamine, which plays a significant role in how we feel and experience pleasure.

Music is something very special. Some call it a universal language, while others call it the window to the soul.

“I was touched to see the souls of many of my residents, while we listened to music, then shared and connected from our hearts,” O’Neill said.

Heaton Place has a wide variety of social and recreation activities scheduled daily.

“We have something interesting for everyone!” O’Neill said. “Our suites are filling up fast; we have only two one-bedroom suites available.”

Those interested in scheduling a personal tour can call Carrie O’Neill at 250-546-3353 ext 506.

READ MORE: Benefits of storytelling boost quality of life for Armstrong seniors

READ MORE: Lake Country service club cleans up


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna flags were flown at half-mast after the discovery of a residential school burial site in Kamloops. (File photo)
Central Okanagan school board chair reflects on recent tragedies

Moyra Baxter offers condolenses to residential school victims, slain Muslim family

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Million-dollar lotto ticket sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Carina Stokes, bar manager at Enderby’s Small Axe Bistro, was recognized as one of four exceptional B.C. restaurant workers by the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Contributed)
Enderby bar manager recognized as ‘stand-up’ B.C. restaurant worker

Small Axe Roadhouse’s Carina Stokes one of four to receive special recognition from the BCRFA

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read