Music brings connection during pandemic at Minneapolis nursing home

The COVID-19 pandemic has not made it easy to live our normal lives. We’ve seen this disease affects all age groups, but in certain parts of their lives, seniors have perhaps felt the effects the most.

For weeks, long-term care facilities were the focus of the COVID-19 response in the state. Along with the threat of getting the disease and being at high-risk for serious implications, visitors, including family, were not allowed to be with them.

Facilities have had to adjust to keep spirits high, and thanks to technology and a creative music director, Walker Methodist Health Center in Minneapolis has figured out a way to do that.

“What I’m doing is critically important.” said Malcom Anderson, music director with Walker Methodist.

“Music is the universal language, and music will connect with people in ways that other things won’t,” he added.

Thanks to a technically enhanced chapel within the facility, Anderson is able to share music, playing both the piano and organ throughout the center. All that residents have to do is tune in on their televisions.

“So right now I’m playing everything from Bach to rock,” Anderson said.

Anderson said it’s been tough since March at the Minneapolis nursing home. It took the facility time to adjust to not only balance the physical health of the residents but also their mental well-being.

He’s able to connect with residents a bit closer now, and many share the positive impact his music has made.

“Sometimes residents will say, ‘I was so stressed, and you started to play that song, and I broke down and cried and I let all that stuff out.’”

And in a time in our lives when so many can feel disconnected, Anderson is using music to hold those who may need it most together.