Young's Mercy Care residents enjoy the beat of the drum

Elton John once said "music has healing power, it has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours".

Residents at Young's Mercy Care Centre enjoyed the healing power of their own music on Thursday during a visit from Keith Doldissen from the Young Regional School of Music.

Keith bought along drums for the residents who through the beat of these drums attracted more residents and even a few staff.

"When we listen to this music," Mr Doldissen said to the residents, "our heart rate is about 90 to 100 beats per minute so our heart rate is increasing but not too much".

"It makes you feel better just listening to music, playing music makes you feel even better again," Mr Doldissen said as he encouraged the residents to join him in a drumming session as part of a special activities morning.

Much of the music we listen to has a beat of around 120 beats per minute compared with a resting heart rate, for many people, of around 60 beats per minute.

"When your heart rate increases your body releases hormones," Mr Doldissen told the residents who were taking part in the class.

"That's why music makes us feel good.

"Sad songs have a slower beat, happy songs are uplifting and angry songs are really fast (in beat)," he said.

Research has shown that in addition to relieving stress and pain, music has positive effects on other cognitive functions.

According to health professionals, "If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout".

Mercy Care Lifestyle Coordinator Sandy Pronk said Thursday's class was aimed at not only giving the residents an extra activity but also to "help with their well-being".

In dementia patients, Ms Pronk said, it is believed playing and listening to music "tends to calm behaviour".

She said the classes give the residents the chance to be involved in activities other than "bingo'.

"We held a barbecue last week and a resident who hadn't been out of their room for ages came up to me afterwards and couldn't stop talking about the day.

"To me, in my role, it is really important to see that type of reaction," Ms Pronk said.

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