Music, art allow caregivers to spend devoted self-care time

First workshop at Doctor Phillips Center on Feb. 22

By Kirstin O’Connor - Reporter/Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - Artists from Central Florida are starting a program focused on caregivers to promote music mindfulness.

At least 1 in 5 people ages 40-60 are caring for a loved one, according to Dr. Rosemary Laird, geriatrician for Florida Hospital.

"They're doing it from a place of love and compassion, but it can creep up on them, that the chronic stress they're under during this long time of caregiving can really add up to some medical problems for them," said Laird.

On average, caregivers spend about 9-12 years taking care of a relative, according to Laird. There are two main groups of caregivers: spouses and children with aging parents.

"There's research that shows that in some cases the caregiver especially in this older caregiver population, the caregiver actually passes away before their loved one,"said Laird.

In her new book "Take Your Oxygen First" Laird writes about different forms of art therapy for caregivers in their own struggles, calling them "performers" in their own right.

Laird plans to take the concepts from her book, along with instruction from acting coaches and music therapists, to hold three workshops.

"Music is present from even the first days of life." said Rich Moats, music therapist at Florida Hospital. "When a mom sings a lullaby to their baby up to the end of life, and so there's a certain security and familiarity that music brings."

Music, along with acting exercises, will help address the needs of caregivers, according to Laird.

"We're going to do a relaxation exercise," said Dana Brazil, senior director of education at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. "Actors need to, when they're playing another character, they need to let go of their stresses in their own life so that they can become the character that they have to play. Walk in somebody else's shoes."

Caregivers can sign up for the first workshop at the Doctor Phillips Center on Feb. 22, here

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