During the Covid 19 “lock down” I’m truly appreciating my memories of events like meet ups with family and friends; enjoying a coffee and cake in a local café; wandering freely in the outdoors and my weekly sing along sessions in the Care Homes throughout my region. Sadly, for the moment, like me, these remain “locked down”. It’s at times like this you recognise and feel the many benefits singing brings, physically, emotionally and socially and the special relationships you share with the elderly.
Spurred on by my loss of singing, over the last few days I’ve had a wonderful time singing in my own home and recording a playlist, which I hope many will be able to enjoy singing along to during this period of isolation.
I can definitely vouch for the personal health benefits I’ve gained whilst doing it. It’s given me a great opportunity to exercise my lungs and feel my sinuses and respiratory tubes opening up. Mentally, I’m feeling more alert and I know my immune system has also been given a boost. Overall I’m feeling brighter, more energetic, positive and less anxious about the world outside.
I am looking forward to singing in a York care home this afternoon where we all will be celebrating the 2019 International Day of Older Persons.
Each year, this day, the 1st October, is celebrated as the International Day of Older Persons. It was first established in 1990 by the United Nations General Assembly. This year’s theme is “The Journey to Age Equality”
There are currently around 700 million people over the age of 60. It is predicted that by 2050, this figure will have risen to 2 billion.
The 2019 theme is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10 and focuses on ways of coping with existing and preventing future old age inequality.
I was thrilled to witness residents and staff of Loran House, Hull* raise the roof last Thursday during my latest Motivational Music session there. As one staff member commented afterwards “You really got them going Ruth.” Some residents got up and danced; others moved, sang and made music in their armchairs. The whole room was filled with music, fun and lots of laughter. What a wonderful afternoon we all had.
There are so many physical, emotional and social benefits to be gained from singing and it is my joy and privilege to be able to assist in bringing a room to life during a motivational music session. This is particularly obvious when I work in a care home, where after lunch many residents can be found dozing in their armchairs as I arrive.
Singing is an ageless enjoyment and it is well known that the endorphins it releases reduce pain and improve mood. Singing is particularly beneficial for elderly people who lead a sedentary lifestyle. I have witnessed firsthand how my regular singing sessions contribute to bringing the following benefits amongst elderly care home residents:-
Animated mind, body and spirit
Reduced anger, depression and anxiety
Increased self esteem and confidence
Improved mental alertness which in turn contributes to reducing the number of falls
Increased lung capacity
Increased sense of community
Creating a forum for fun & laughter
*Loran House residential care centre, offers care for clients whose needs are associated with the ageing process and dementia.
“Ooh aah ooh aah” is the favourite expressions of one of the lovely gentleman in our group.
This week, his catchphrase prompted me to dig out some cowboy hats and blonde pig tail wigs from my dressing up box and get us all singing along to “I’ve Got A Brand New Combine Harvester” at our Music for the Mind” session. Well done everyone and thank you all for joining in the fun and getting dressed up. Our fortnightly sessions are all about expressing ourselves and creating some new memories in a fun, positive, caring and supportive environment.
I’m looking forward to our Music for the Mind session next Monday on 19th February.
Please forward to anyone you know living with dementia or who is looking after someone with the illness. Our sing along sessions are great fun and a good opportunity to make some new friends. Everyone is welcome.
I was really excited to read the following BBC News item about a project called “Songs and Smiles” on line yesterday.
In a care home in Walthamstow, north-east London, babies, toddlers and elderly residents are coming together to sing and play musical instruments together.
“Songs and Smiles” is a “Together Project” founded by Louise Goulden, who whilst on maternity leave brought young and old together to help reduce loneliness and have a positive impact on those residents who have dementia. What a wonderful idea!
“Songs & Smiles is a wonderful project that bridges the gap between generations. Our residents get so much out of it, I’d recommend it to any care home” – Depak Luckhan, Manager of Ross Wyld Care Home, London
Another great Music for the Mind session this afternoon. Our group are doing really well and their singing is definitely improving each time we meet. Today we had a whole lot of fun doing The Grand Old Duke Of York with actions!!
A big thank you Gill Cain, Rachel Liddell, Zoe Lyons and Wendy Allan for all your help and support in making this another fun musical afternoon 😘😘
Even though the flu bug and icy conditions outside kept some regulars away, our Music for the Mind sessions are continuing to produce better and better results. This week we had two soloists and saw a severely disabled resident clapping. Absolutely heart warming. Just love these sessions and everyone who takes part. A big thank you to everyone who is helping to make them such a success.
It is most encouraging to read a Daily Express online article today, endorsing the benefits that singing and listening to our favourite songs brings to those living with dementia.
Our fortnightly “Music for the Mind” sessions at the Beaumont, Stamford Bridge are already bringing health benefits to those attending our group since September 2017, including improved mood, increased confidence and self esteem. It was so rewarding at our last session to witness an elderly lady who had previously been quite withdrawn sing to the whole group on her own.