With a recent report from Mental Health Research Canada citing the rate of anxiety quadrupling in the wake of COVID-19, an increasing number of Canadians are seeking additional tools to ease their days. One such resource has been Canadian health arts organization Room 217 Foundation and the newly expanded release of their highly innovative non-pharmacological music care collections for digital streaming — available now.
Room 217 music is produced with defined therapeutic and artistic values, including familiar songs and sounds in comforting styles, 60-minute continuous play, with a mix of instrumental-only and albums with vocals — both gently arranged for up to six voices or instruments. Tempos are paced between 54 – 72 beats per minute to entrain with a resting heart rate, and the collections have been streamed upwards of 500,000 times since launching.
“Since we’ve been under social isolation rules, there has been all kinds of social chatter about people experiencing sleep disturbances, sadness, anxiety and depression,” says Room 217 Foundation Executive Director Bev Foster. “Living with these weights on our shoulders, especially as we are socially isolated from the people we love and who support us, is affecting many people’s mental health.
“Our library offers demonstrated relief for care providers, family members, frontline workers, and self-care alike.”
Initially designed as an accessible comfort tool in the resource kits of nursing and care staff, volunteers, hospices, palliative care units, long-term care and assisted living homes, Room 217’s increased availability offers unprecedented access for home and personal use within families.
A world leader in music care, Room 217’s expanded digital availability adds to already more than 45,000+ copies sold worldwide, and includes this season’s newest releases: Collection 3: Diverse Sounds, Collection 4: Boomer Tracks.
Also available are Collection 1: Soul Comfort and Collection 2: Memorable Moments. Each collection features six full-length albums.
“Room 217 Music Collections were initially designed to be a cost-effective comfort tool to meet the psychosocial and spiritual needs of persons in palliative and end-of-life care,” Foster shares. “We are forerunners in bringing the caregiver, especially the family caregiver as a vital care partner, into the music and health sector.
“Our Music Collections can be used in self-care, too — especially among those suffering forms of insomnia, burnout, compassion fatigue, or increased anxiety and depression.”
Her recommendations? “If you’re experiencing trouble sleeping, I’d start with Gentle Waters, British Invasion, or Lotus Blossom,” she offers. “My favourite for starting the day off is Road Trip, and Broadway Melodies, and Bamboo Garden is perfect if you’re trying to focus while working or reset in the afternoon.”
Promoting sleep and a general sense of peacefulness, Room 217 Music Collections have been proven to help alleviate agitation and anxiety, provide comfort and a distraction from pain, make eating more enjoyable, assist in closure and relationship completion, enhance communications through reminiscence, and more, as well as de-stress caregivers and make care and dying spaces beautiful.
Since its creation, Room 217 has dedicated itself to be a world- and industry-leader wholly focused on developing, producing and delivering research-informed music care products, education, training, and research.
“Music care is the intentional use of music by anyone to improve health and well-being,” Foster explains. “Music care integrates sound, silence and music into the circle of care, paying close attention to how interpersonal connection and human contact is enhanced through musical associations.
“I’ve been so encouraged by the number of videos shared since the start of COVID-19 featuring singing and music as a coping mechanism,” she continues. “In addition to tapping music for stress or emotional relief, it can be used to celebrate, feel connected, and as a means of expression.
“There’s even history on the use of music in other pandemics.”
Room 217 is a Canadian music-based health arts organization and social enterprise providing innovative approaches to well-being through a philosophy of music care. Collaborating with a top-notch team of skilled music educators, music therapists, music and health researchers, and community musicians and artists, the organization produces and delivers music care products, education, and training to help carers integrate music into their regular practice to enhance quality of life and improve the care experience.
In its 11 years of groundbreaking work, the impact Room 217 Foundation has had on those both receiving and providing care is immense. Through the development of numerous music care conferences, education platforms and products currently implemented within care settings across the country and around the world — including the Pathways Singing Program for dementia care, Conversation Cards for music sharing, Recollections for reminiscence, and Music Collections for palliative and end-of-life care — the Foundation is considered a national and international leader within the industry.
Room 217 Music Collections 1 – 4 are available now.