Mary loves music and Chantelle loves making music happen for the residents in her Oxfordshire care home. Lauren Laverne speaks to them about lockdown and how music is helping both residents and carers to stay as positive as possible.
Music is a huge part of life at Bridge House Care Home. Many of the residents are living with dementia, but during this pandemic the staff have risen to the challenge of maintaining their usual routine.
Activities Co-ordinator Chantelle Merritt has a background in entertainment and particularly enjoys seeing the connection music brings to people. Chantelle does regular singalong sessions with residents where she sings songs relating to where residents are from or that she knows are reminiscent.
During the interview she tells Lauren: “Music is universal and can reach everybody. We use a variety of music including group singing and we have theme tunes such as It’s a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong and I Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley.”
“As soon as we turn up the speakers, the carers know it’s just going to lift everybody – if the residents are happy everyone is happy.”
Mary Greenham is an ex-teacher, now a resident, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2015. Passionate about music all her life, she even had a stint as a radio broadcaster on the BBC 2 Radio show’ Pause for thought’. Mary is particularly fond of musicals – her favourites include Oliver, Carousel and South Pacific – and she now belongs to the care home’s choir.
She explains to Lauren: “Music totally changes me, it takes me on a journey. I like to listen with my eyes closed. It takes you right out…music is magic.”