Music as medicine. That is what Dia Vos from Emmen is working on. Recently she can call herself the first professionally trained care singer in the Northern Netherlands. Since this year, Dia has been providing singing sessions in healthcare institutions and in people’s homes. Singing together has a beneficial effect, especially on people with dementia or memory problems.
The music stand is ready. The songbook is open. Dia Vos (61) is located in a house in Emmerchans. Waiting for her client, with whom she will sing later.
The former pharmacy employee has now taken a different tack. No more pills and powders, but music and singing. Since this year, Dia can officially call herself a professional care singer.
Singing has always been her great passion. She sang in a choir from an early age. She still does that today, including at ZinQ. “Singing gives energy and it connects.” Because singing is emotion, says Vos.
In addition to the choir, in recent years she could also regularly be found in care centers, where she sang requests from, for and with the elderly. Last year she decided to go a step further. “The desire arose to do more than just sing. I wanted to do more, to be able to really contribute something.”
She started a search on the internet and soon came across websites and videos about care singers, who perform for people with memory problems. The repertoire is specifically tailored to them. “We look at what they like with them or their family. Usually we start from the music they heard a lot in their youth.”
Hearing and singing these songs stimulates the memory, says Vos. “Memories come up and people get to talk a lot.”
It is a kind of memory training with a touch of happiness. “It also gives self-confidence. Anyone who is in a residential care center has to rely on the help of others for many things. Singing along under one’s own strength brings with it the feeling that an achievement is being performed independently. And that feels good of course.”
Vos therefore decided to become an apprentice to another care singer, Maartje de Lint. At the beginning of this year she obtained her diploma, making her the first trained singers in the north in one fell swoop.
So many people, so many wishes. So all flavors are reviewed. “From Ave Maria to Spiegelbeeld by Willeke Alberti. From Malle Babbe to a piece of musical. Or even Hazes.” It doesn’t matter as long as it catches on. Because that’s the key, says Vos. “If there is no response, I will not continue for five more verses. Then I quickly switch to something else.”
It’s a rewarding profession, she says. One that also regularly has a happy note. Laughing: “Recently someone said: ‘You should really join a choir.’.”