Whatever our personal tastes might be it seems that music is good for all of us. Studies show that music can help reduce stress, improve cognitive performance and memory, and may even help reduce the experience of pain.
Because there appears to be a strong link between music and well-being, music should be an important feature of life in every care home. This means more than just leaving the radio or a CD on all day. There are many ways that music can be integrated imaginatively to enhance the experience of care home residents.
Music and Dementia
Taking part in musically-themed activities has been shown to be particularly beneficial for people with dementia. As well as improving mood and emotional wellbeing musical activities can reduce feelings of isolation and improve self-esteem.
Music can stimulate and energise people so they become more interested in activities happening around them. It can alleviate anxiety, agitation and depression by helping people to work through and process feelings.
Carefully chosen music can also help people to reminisce. This provides a comforting sense of familiarity and can evoke feelings from fond memories.
Recognising the benefits that music brings, Music for Dementia 2020 is a new campaign that aims to make live music available for all people with dementia by 2020.
Live Music in Care Homes
Live music is particularly beneficial. A recent research study (Live Music in Care) led by the University of Winchester and Live Music Now concluded, ‘live music should be essential in all UK care homes.’ The simple reasoning being that residents are encouraged to be more active and engaged and that live music sessions lift the mood of residents and also care staff.
Live music has always been a feature of the varied activity programmes in all of our care homes. We’ve seen for ourselves, the enjoyment and benefits it brings to our residents and we fully support the aims of Music for Dementia and Live Music in Care Homes.