"Alexa; play Frank Sinatra."
Residents of Ivy House, sheltered housing facility in Wellington are loving their new Amazon Echo thanks to Housing Officer, Alisha Cordy. In this blog, Alisha tells us why she decided purchased the Echo in more detail and what residents have been using it for.
"I had been wanting to do a music morning for a while to give residents something different to do" she said. "I tried using a CD player but only had a small selection of CD's, so there wasn't a great deal of choice. That's when I thought of the Echo I have at home; I can play whatever I fancy, whenever I like. So, with that, I made the decision to buy one for the house and run it through my own account.
"A handful of residents meet in the communal lounge every day for a bit of a chat and some company - they often have music on in the background to make it feel more homely."
They love to meet up every other evening to have a good sing-a-long together!
Barbara (resident) is pictured below sitting next to the Echo listening to music. Barbara said "I decided to come in and listen to music, I find it very calming."
Alisha said "My Mother had dementia and didn't talk a lot. I saw a programme on TV about music and dementia sufferers shortly after her diagnosis, so following this I got an iPod and loaded it with old songs I knew my Mum used to listen to. When I played the music from the iPod, my Mum would perk up and sing along, even smile and dance, almost remembering all the words. From then on, I knew music was such great therapy, even if its a slight distraction for a moment or two from our hectic lives.
"It was a usual day at Ivy House, residents were gathered in the communal lounge chatting and relaxing. I decided to play some music through my phone to one of my residents who suffers from dementia, he asked for Elvis' Jailhouse Rock. He is a very quiet man, but when the music started he was singing and dancing and even tried doing the twist!
It was in that moment, I decided I was going to buy an Amazon Echo for the house.
"I ran a few raffles for staff and residents and added some of my own money (as I knew it would be used well) to pay for it. It was worth every penny! Now, residents call it their 'magic box' - they often try to catch Alexa out by asking her to play something that they think she may not have. She is still undefeated! It's great fun for everybody. Some residents said that they sometimes call her 'Alisha' by accident, normally when she does something wrong! That made me laugh!"
What a wonderful thing for residents to enjoy! Thank you Alisha, it's great to see our residents enjoying their new digital companion.