POWER OF MUSIC: Rob McGrigor rocked out with Gemma and Shaye, while Jim McDonald, Sandra Harrison and Kayla Harrison joined in with percussion.
POWER OF MUSIC: Rob McGrigor rocked out with Gemma and Shaye, while Jim McDonald, Sandra Harrison and Kayla Harrison joined in with percussion. Melanie Keyte

Selfless sisters share the power of music

IT'S usually quiet at Tabeel Lutheran Home on Thursday mornings, but last week, the halls rang with the songs of yesteryear.

Laidley sisters Gemma and Shaye Harrison had decided to bring a little musical joy into the residents' lives and asked along their music therapist Rob McGrigor to put on a special all-inclusive session.

Despite the girls' rare genetic condition which has left them with a variety of health difficulties, they regularly volunteer at the retirement home and thanks to increased funding through the NDIS, last week was the first time they could share their favourite therapy with their Tabeel friends.

Mr McGrigor said music therapy was helpful in connecting people to their memories and to each other.

"I've been working with Shaye and Gemma helping them with a better quality of life and with expression and communication," he said.

"That enjoyment of daily living is relevant to older residents, plus other benefits.

"With dementia, the patient loses their short-term memory but often keeps their long-term memory, particularly from their years as young adults, so we like to take them back to that part of their lives through song."

Shaye and Gemma's mum Sandra said the girls had been waiting for the opportunity to sing with their friends, and had personally invited guests from the community to join them in song, including Jim McDonald.

"They just love socialising," she said.

"Like any set of siblings, they can get bored at home and bicker, so it's good for them to get out and even better when they can give back to the community."


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