Impromptu singalongs - Music for Dementia
A case study by Live Music Now
Monkscroft Care Centre, operated by The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT), participated in the ‘Choir in Every Care Home Project’ with Live Music Now from November 2017 and completed 11 sessions with the Live Music Now musicians David Insao-Cao and Louis Bingham.
David and Louis visited Monkscroft regularly, providing interactive music sessions for residents and team that proved to be a huge success, there was a definite individual impact on residents especially for those living with dementia.
One resident with early stages of dementia, who on entry to Monkscroft was admitted for end of life care, was a very quiet and reserved person. By the time she started the project she was no longer on end of life care and the team felt the project would be a very beneficial experience for her. Throughout the project she really gained confidence and began to become a leader within the group. She really benefited from the social side of the project and gained a wonderful relationship with the musicians as well as other residents involved and the team. She took on the role of conducting one of the songs and she appeared really proud of this. She said at the end of the project ‘I enjoyed it immensely, I have loved the music forever’. Since the project she has been participating in many music based activities as well as other meaningful activities that she enjoys. She also has started mobilising with a frame, through this new gained confidence and support of team.
Another resident living with dementia involved in the project had minimal verbal communication, she particularly enjoyed one of the songs featured during the sessions, and through encouragement from the team she began humming along to this song between sessions. The resident then began to participate more during the sessions. After the project it has been observed that she now engages more with the Care Team and she appears more alert and engaged in meaningful activities especially music-based activities.
Live Music Now session at OSJCT Monkscroft Care Centre – Photo Credit Evan Dawson
Overall the impact of the project for those living with dementia was clear to see. Residents found new ways of communicating, engaging and expressing themselves and their identity. They built new relationships with the musicians and developed existing relationships with the Care Team and other residents. One resident described the sessions as a very therapeutic experience.
Sabrina Trovato, a member of the Care Team who was one of the team members involved in project, expressed how she saw the value and importance of music for residents and began to gain confidence throughout the project, and gained valuable skills to share with her colleagues. She is now involved regularly in meaningful music activities in her daily working life for the benefit of residents. Her new-found confidence has enabled her to continue with her Dementia Link work training and to begin leading her own project providing aromatherapy sessions for residents and colleagues.
Charlotte Turville, Care Leader on a dementia specialist Household at Monkscroft, also gained valuable skills from being involved in the project. She said: “The project has boosted my confidence in engaging in impromptu singalongs and I feel I can happily go to the karaoke machine and sing along with the residents any time during the day. I was also able to share my experiences of the project with my colleagues”.
Charlotte encouraged her colleagues to start using music on a daily basis with residents. Charlotte and her team are able to use music as a tool by singing with residents as a one to one activity. For example, this could be a beneficial activity for a resident living with dementia who perhaps is feeling distress. Choosing and singing music that is meaningful for the resident may support the resident to feel more relaxed. Another example of using music on daily basis is the team have now begun singing with residents on the way to the dining room which supports in the dining experience.
Ewa Cwiklak, Activity Coordinator at Monkscroft, said: “Music is so powerful, especially for those living with dementia as music has such a wonderful way of supporting meaningful engagement. I attended the recent Music Care conference at the University of Nottingham where I was able to share the benefits from the project and what we were able to achieve at Monkscroft. I felt I empowered those around me to use music more within their care settings and encourage their colleagues.”
The Activities Team at Monkscroft feel that the project really empowered the whole Care Team to continue to support meaningful activities within the Care Centre. The project has supported the development of further engagement from the team to take a lead in activities such as salsa classes run by the Deputy Manager, aromatherapy sessions led by a member of the Care Team and much more all for the benefits of residents. Many activities that take place at Monkscroft continue to include more music even for example the yoga sessions include music to movement, residents are also observed singing on their way to organised group activities.
Bogumil Cwiklak, Monkscroft Home Manager, noted: “The team felt inspired and took ownership of the project for the benefit of the residents’ wellbeing. It is wonderful to see how residents and the team developed their new skills. Everyone feels much more included in life at the home.”
Monkscroft has recently celebrated their recent outstanding CQC report, the culture of the Care Centre has always been to be open to new experiences for the benefit of residents. The project with Live Music Now was a very beneficial tool to continue to help the team to gain more and new skills and to support residents to continue engage in meaningful life experiences.
About the Trust
The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) provides reputable trusted care, support and housing to residents and tenants across 70 homes and 14 accommodation schemes across Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, West Sussex and Suffolk.
OSJCT delivers high quality dedicated person-centred care for the elderly including dementia, intermediate, respite, day care, and specialised nursing.
Unique training and development helps colleagues to understand how best to support residents to achieve an active and fulfilling life.
As a not-for-profit charitable Trust financial surplus is reinvested for the benefit of the residents.
The Trust employs approximately 4,000 staff and assists more than 3,500 residents. The quality of its service has been accredited by the National Care Forum, through its “Quality First” framework. It also works closely with Dementia UK and was among the first care providers to employ its own specialist Admiral Nurses.
LMN was founded in 1977 by violinist Yehudi Menuhin to realise his twin ambitions of nurturing young musicians at the outset of their career and bringing the joy of live music to all.
Each year, Live Music Now delivers thousands of music workshops throughout the UK – in hospitals, care homes, special schools and communities. There are over 320 musicians on the LMN scheme at any time, who are trained based on the latest medical, educational and healthcare research. Since they started, Live Music Now has given over 75,000 interactive music sessions, for over 2.8 million people. http://www.livemusicnow.org.uk/
In November 2012 LMN, in partnership with the University of Winchester, published the Live Music In Care Report the result of a research enquiry that has been supported by 35 national organisations in the social care and arts sectors, working together since 2015 under the banner ‘A Choir in Every Care Home’, funded by the Baring Foundation. They are united in their vision to inspire and support care homes throughout the UK to introduce more and better music engagement for older people. Monkscroft Care Centre took part in the Live Music in Care delivery programme.
The full report and a short 4-page summary can be downloaded from: http://www.livemusicnow.org.uk/