Sunrise Senior Living and SingFit™ Strike a Chord with Therapeutic Music

Assisted living and memory care residents experiencing enhanced musical programming


Monday, November 26, 2018 12:00 pm EST



Living With Melody: @SunriseSrLiving and @WeAreSingFit strike a chord with therapeutic music

MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sunrise Senior Living is enhancing residents’ wellbeing at U.S. communities through individualized programming that includes the use of award-winning therapeutic music technology, SingFit™. Created by Musical Health Technologies specifically for older adults in long-term care, SingFit PRIME uses songs and evidence-based music programming to help support participants’ overall wellbeing with an engaging exercise that activates both the mind and body.

“We’re constantly looking at ways to innovate and enhance our already robust evidence-based Sunrise Live With Purpose ® programming, and our residents and team members are pleased to have even more options for meaningful musical engagement,” said Rita Altman, senior vice president of Memory Care & Program Services for Sunrise. “We incorporate music into many aspects of our programming, with things like instruments in therapeutic group activities and guest musical performances. SingFit’s therapeutic music sessions are especially helpful in the support we provide to residents living in our memory care neighborhoods, by offering both cognitive and physical stimulation that engages the body, mind, and spirit.”

“With SingFit’s lyric-cuing feature, participants, including individuals with memory or vision loss, can sing and interact with their favorite songs,” explained SingFit Chief Clinical Officer and certified music therapist, Andy Tubman. “The process of singing on a regular basis activates the entire brain, helping with positive neurochemical and hormonal regulation, speech, and focus for people with cognitive decline. Overall,” Tubman continued, “initial data shows that SingFit participants experience significant elevation in mood and engagement levels during and after sessions.”

Since introducing SingFit into the first Sunrise community in the fall of 2017, more than 260 Sunrise communities across the U.S. are now utilizing the program to create enriching group musical experiences for assisted living residents as well as memory care residents living in Sunrise Reminiscence® Neighborhoods. Drawing on many of the most popular hits from past decades, the SingFit app features more than 400 songs, including classics from Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, and Nat King Cole. With the help of trained Sunrise team members, residents are led through a series of interactive singing sessions as often as three or more times per week.

“As we recognize National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month this November, we celebrate the power of music to outsmart memory loss,” said Altman. “We know that music is closely tied with cognitive health. Our approach to integrating music-centered activities in our communities as part of Live With Melody offers personalized opportunities for residents to reminisce, and SingFit’s lyric-prompting complements Sunrise’s Principles of Service, which include preserving dignity and encouraging independence.”

“Sunrise is dedicated to bringing the benefits of active music-making to their residents, and we are proud that they chose a relationship with us,” said Rachel Francine, SingFit cofounder and CEO. “By introducing SingFit, we, in coordination with Sunrise, have created the largest single implementation of a technology-driven, active therapeutic music program in history.”

In a recent study from Johns Hopkins University, singing over a four-month period led to cognitive improvements in a group of patients with dementia. It also found that participants showed higher levels of improvement on mini-mental state exams (MMSE), clock-drawing tests, and the Satisfaction with Life Scale than control group counterparts.

“Residents who find it difficult to concentrate on one thing for a significant period of time become captivated while participating in SingFit. We observe that residents who formerly presented minimal verbal skills sing full sentences, and residents who tend to make physically repetitive movements slow down to begin following our movements,” said Lindsey Mesmer, activities and volunteer coordinator at Sunrise at Pinehurst, CO. “We’re always looking for programs that benefit everyone, regardless of ability. It is so important for each of our residents to experience personalized care and service in ways that meet their physical, mental, and emotional needs.”

One example was seen in assisted living resident, Al, at Sunrise at Webb Gin, GA, in the Atlanta area, who was often quiet and reserved. Since he began regularly attending SingFit sessions with his wife, Mary, this fall, his level of social interaction around the community has increased, as the music program has helped him to express himself more freely. At a recent session, he revealed his hidden talent for singing with a moving rendition of a song by The Platters. His soulful tenor brought Sunrise team members and fellow participants alike to tears.

Live With Melody is one of Sunrise’s eight signature Live With Purpose programs that offer opportunities for residents to engage, enjoy, express, learn, and grow every day. These programs are designed to bring together residents, team members, families, and volunteers and turn each day into an opportunity for seniors to Live With Purpose.

As part of its holistic approach to caregiving and fostering connections, Sunrise communities also employ the Validation Method for residents with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia. Developed by renowned author and social worker Naomi Feil, Validation is an empathetic method of communicating with seniors experiencing memory loss, using both verbal and non-verbal techniques to help them feel heard and connected. Caregivers using Validation help reduce stress and enhance dignity among older adults with memory loss by affirming their feelings and going on the memory-loss journey with them.

For the latest information about Sunrise and aging topics, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn, or read The Sunrise Blog. Readers may also listen to the Senior Caregiver Podcast for tips to help navigate the challenges and joys of caring for older loved ones.

About Sunrise Senior Living

Sunrise Senior Living, a McLean, Va.-based company, employs approximately 32,400 people. As of November 1, 2018, Sunrise operated 327 communities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, including 21 Gracewell Healthcare communities, with a total unit capacity of over 29,000. Sunrise offers a full range of personalized senior living services, including independent living, assisted living, care for individuals with Alzheimer's and other forms of memory loss, as well as nursing and rehabilitative services. In 2018, Sunrise became the first senior living company to be ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Senior Living Communities” by J.D. Power. For J.D. Power award information, visit To learn more about Sunrise, please visit

About SingFit

Musical Health Technologies (MHT), located in Los Angeles, California, is finding new solutions for everything from dementia and depression to chronic breathing disorders and hypertension. Developed by certified music therapists, MHT’s debut product, SingFit PRIME, is a prescribed singing solution currently being used in more than 400 senior living communities, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals in 35 states. The SingFit platform allows providers of care to those 65 and older to deliver therapeutic music to their residents with their own staff. In 2019, MHT will release SingFit STUDIO for use by individual facilitators in one-to-one sessions with clients. MHT is the winner of the AARP Innovation@50+ Award, the USC Keck School of Medicine Body Computing prize, and the McKnight’s Dignity in Aging Award. To learn more about Musical Health Technologies, please visit The very best way to get to know SingFit is to see it inaction. Check out Olivia’s SingFit story here.


Micah Lillard
Corporate Communications

Jennifer Clark
Corporate Communications

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