Benefits of Music in Care Homes
Music has benefits to many of us, it can be a form of relaxation, help with stress relief, bring joy, and bond us to others. We enjoy live music, our carefully crafted playlists, the radio and even singing TV shows!
So, it’s no surprise that music has its place in our wellbeing, and you may not have considered using music in care homes yet. The benefits of music in care homes can be invaluable to the residents.
The International Longevity Centre estimated that 80% of those who have dementia or significant memory problems. However, only 5% of those people have access to art and music.
Combating this, the NHS have trials underway which aim to determine whether music can reduce suffering for Alzheimer’s patients. Furthermore, whether it can also improve their mood and wellbeing.
Firstly, a test conducted into this area found that “prescribing” songs based upon the patient’s background and music taste can result in heart rate reductions of up to 22%. Also, it can sometimes lower distress and agitation. Initial trial results based on 25 people with Alzheimer’s has shown positive and promising results so far. It seems the benefits of music in care homes would outweigh any negatives.
How does the study work?
This method is based on an algorithm, which is linked to music streaming service. It can change upcoming songs if the genre or type doesn’t appear to be working. It uses an artificial intelligence system, which considers the ‘DNA’ of songs. The things which make up songs such as timbre, tempo and lower notes can influence the heart and blood pressure response to the songs.
As well as these encouraging results, music can trigger memories and feelings. Similarly, we feel generally more positive when we hear a song that we love. In addition, musical memory is actually a form of implicit memory. Interestingly. studies have suggested that listening to music ‘lights up’ the brain in places another stimulus cannot reach.
How to use music in your care home
Get everybody involved!
Schedule a short period of the day known as singing time. This includes all the residents as well as all of the staff on shift. Firstly, you can allow your residents to add a song to a bowl. Then, each day a member of staff can choose one from the bowl to sing that day.
Not only do residents benefit from music, but staff members also feel more positive when they listen to music at work. Meanwhile, this can lead to a happier environment.
Put on a show!
Making Music suggests performing as a way to incorporate music into elderly lives. Organizing choirs, singalongs, instruments and performing at care home events can be a way to involve residents and give them a sense of purpose.
For instance, a singing group could be put together to perform several times a year. For example, a spring picnic or at Christmas. Practicing and rehearsing for these events will bring residents together year round.
Invite local musicians
Do some research into local musicians, get in contact, and offer a voluntary position to sing for your resident’s. Post their visit to social media, this can encourage them to visit.
Get your residents to suggest some songs beforehand for them to sing that they would like to hear. But, allow the musician to perform something for their own genre for diversity!
Put a playlist together
With many available music applications, each resident could have a personalized playlist.
Arrange time for a care worker to work one on one with a resident to help them create this. In addition, this will help bond with the residents as well as give them something comforting to listen to.
Make your own instruments
If your care home does not have access to instruments, you can ask for donations or make your own.
Use online resources to find out how you can make your instruments from everyday materials. You probably already have these lying around!
Here is an easy-to-follow resource: https://bit.ly/3pdA455
If you’re looking for more care home activities, take a look at our blog post and find some fun things to do with your residents.