The saying ‘music is therapy for the soul’ rings true for residents at Juniper Rowethorpe’s Retirement Living community in Bentley.  

Once a month on a Sunday morning, residents gather at the on-site Sutton Community Centre where they spend an hour taking in the songs of yester-year by artists ranging from Ella Fitzgerald and Rod Stewart to hit songs from musicals like West Side Story.  

The idea came from resident Michael Hyde, who wanted to find a way to bring people together to relax, unwind and enjoy their favourite tunes.  

Armed with his Bluetooth speaker and Spotify playlist, Michael leads the one-hour music therapy session and invites anyone from the Juniper Rowethorpe Retirement Living community to join.  

A resident at Juniper Rowethorpe for the past four years, Michael said he wanted to bring people back together following months of lockdowns and social distancing brought on by COVID-19. 

“I’ve been living on my own since my wife died, so I was getting very lonely,” he said. 

“Since COVID, I noticed that people don’t really get together like they used to. So I wanted to start these music sessions as a nice way of bringing people together.”

So far, the monthly music sessions have been a hit, with 12 residents showing up on a regular basis.  

“People can request songs they want me to play, so I’ll add it to the playlist,” he said. 

“The idea is for us to sit in silence and really listen to the music.”  

Michael’s efforts to stay active in his local community highlight how important it is for people to create a sense of belonging and build connections with others, which is a common theme across Juniper’s Retirement Living communities.  

Having come from a marketing background, Michael is social at heart and loves being in the company of others.  

This is what inspired him to start not just the monthly music sessions but also a weekly Men’s Coffee Group, where male residents can get together every Thursday for a coffee and a chat. 

The group discuss a variety of topics, from politics to news headlines to ideas for any upcoming social activities or outings. 

“The women seem to be good at doing social things together, but the men don’t seem to do much,” he said.  

“So I thought I would start a group where the men can come together for a coffee and chat about anything.” 

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