Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea receives award

Published 9:01 am Saturday, November 1, 2008

Good Samaritan Society — Albert Lea is the recipient of the 2008 ICAA (International Council on Active Aging) Award; they received the award for their “therapeutic harp music for residents” program.

The program, started earlier this year, is unique in that the music played is individually tailored to meet the needs of each resident. For instance, if a resident is weak or ailing, harp music played “live” at bedside allows for interaction, which otherwise would not be possible. A resident who is uncommunicative will sing along to familiar songs, giving them the opportunity for expression. For a resident with dementia, music from another era provides an opening to memory recall. And as a resident nears the end of life, a harp therapist offers music that provides comfort and assurance to the resident and family. The music also carries down the hall, resulting in a calming atmosphere for other residents and staff.

Theresa Thorland, recreation and wellness director, submitted the nomination on behalf of Good Samaritan Society — Albert Lea and they are only one of six nationwide to receive the ICAA award in 2008.

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“This award represents a remarkable program that offers an opportunity for those we serve to experience holistic wellness. We are honored to have certified harp therapist Rachel Christensen as a member of our volunteer team providing this enriching program,” said Mark Anderson, administrator at Albert Lea.

“Our intent is to create an environment of peacefulness and less pain for our residents as they transition from life to death. It is important for each individual to die with dignity and peace and it is of equal importance for the staff to know the passing was as comfortable as possible.”

For more information on the “therapeutic harp music” program, call the Good Samaritan Center at 373-0683.