Today we’d like to introduce you to Shannon Wallace, CDP, CDC.
Hi Shannon, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
For the past 25+ years, I have been a professional vocal jazz musician touring around the USA, as well as into parts of Europe and Asia. As an advocate for the human’s adventurous and creative spirit through interactive expression and communication, six years ago I realized that I wanted to create more intention behind my music.
It was then that I decided to volunteer my time to sing for seniors – – and it was then when those living with dementia became responsible for changing my career and redefining my life’s meaning and purpose.
As a result, for five years (pre-COVID), I was offering an in-person, interactive, music, movement and memory workshop program for those living with dementia/cognitive impairment, along with their care partners, called “Musical Memory Care™” (MMC™).
Then COVID hit and the in-person workshop experience was no longer an option.
So, in response to the global virus’ impact on the community I serve, I felt it my honor-duty to create a technologically innovative and accessible way to support, stimulate and engage those who had to tightly remain within the safety of their environments.
As a result, on June 1, 2020, I pivoted from my in-person services to launch the first-ever virtual, interactive live streaming and on-demand (pre-recorded videos) MMC™ workshop program aimed to virtually serve those living with all stages of dementia and cognitive impairment (along with their care partners) living independent, assisted, memory or long-term care lifestyles – – all over the country!
During that time, I also became a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP) and Dementia Care Certified (CDC) through Dementia Care Education.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
NOT AT ALL!!! When creating and launching my virtual platform, what I did not know was A LOT!!
As a very small business owner, I had to serve as my own IT, HR, Marketing, Development and Procurement departments. I am thankful however, that a chosen few within my professional circles were gracious and generous enough to help guide and support me along the way, to teach me all that I did not know.
My biggest challenge to-date is to create awareness about my program to those who are living independent lifestyles, in single-family dwellings.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Musical Memory Care?
My virtual live and on-demand Musical Memory Care™ workshops feature myself interacting and singing with (not for) my audience who then sings and experiences full-body movement exercises (as they are comfortably able); memory and hand-eye coordination games; problem-solving games (i.e., mathematics, geography, science and history); humor, laughter and interactive and reflective conversation, all set to music and/or rhythm.
In these workshops, there are no wrong answers, no wrong moves and no disabilities. Everyone is perfect in their interpretations of what I ask them to do with me, and I make sure to express this many times throughout the experience.
I specifically position my workshops for complete success by encouraging all participants to enjoy themselves, not to judge what they can or allegedly cannot do, and to understand that “we’re in this together.”
Trust-building is a huge component of my work, and I gain this through the exemplification of love, compassion, encouragement and empathy. When people know or sense that they can trust, they give it their all. Their smiles, giggles and “kiss-blowings” are always great indicators that my participants are in it for the “win.” As well, in a care partner scenario, the care-giver has the opportunity to join in for their own overall wellness, as well as witness first-hand, a joyful moment or a window into a familiar personality that once was their loved-one.
The power of intention is mighty. Because the program aims to help participants rediscover their individual vitality that lies within, positively re-evaluate their relationship to the world in which they are still an integral part, and help them sense that the world still understands that they are more than just alive inside, there is no failure – there is no such thing.
To date, program supporters include AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, Barrow Neurological Institute, the Virtual Brain Health Center, Dementia Care Education, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Arizona Assisted Living Federation of America, arts and educational organizations, and eldercare communities from around the country.
What are your plans for the future?
Although the MusicalMemoryCare.com (MMC™) virtual platform is in its infant stages, my hope for the program is that it will be a sustained and growing service; that it sets a new standard of excellence for the eldercare industry when using music and compassion as therapeutic tools; and that MMC™ can offer “in-service” trainings of proof-of-concept techniques that can be implemented by care partners and care home staff when MMC™ is not immediately accessible.
As the world evolves in and beyond this COVID-era, MMC™’s desire is to scale/replicate the program and continue to speak in professional industry settings about the brain science behind music, the importance of and how to use music as therapy, and MMC™’s techniques and holistic benefits.
- $12.97/ household
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: MusicalMemoryCare.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shannonwallacesings/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShannonWallaceSings
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/swallacesings
- Other: https://www.shannonwallacesings.com/