Groundbreaking research has explored the power of music for residents in care homes. This research was conducted in combination with Anderson’s care home and the Innovation school from the Glasgow School of Art (GSA).
Being in residential care can be difficult for your loved one, yourself and your family. Leaving behind the familiarity of their own home can make an individual feel initially uncomfortable in their new environment. This discomfort can lead to many negative health implications both physically and mentally for your loved one. Could the power of music be the solution to this?
According to this research and other case studies, yes is the answer!
Research has found that Music can bring the residents and your loved one “alive”; it gives them stimulation, helps them to reminisce and enables them to socialise with others. They are able to interact and it gives some residents an opportunity to sing or hum along, even though they may not be able to speak. It can be very good for your loved ones wellbeing and make them more comfortable in their environment.
Music is particularly beneficial for those living with dementia; the ‘musical memory’ is the strongest memory retained by the human brain so it makes a lot of sense to use music as often as possible. Music can also be used as a useful form of communication for those who may usually struggle. Music is a good mental stimulant that can often and easily bring back lots of happy emotions and memories, perhaps a song linked to a fond experience or memory?
The research done by GSA culminated in The Anderson experience. An exhibition where the public could visit to see, listen and read about the inner life of the care home and how music was able to bring people together.
Anderson’s manager Kathy McGrath-Gunn said: “It’s was a great venture for Anderson’s to be involved and work alongside the GSA in the ‘making rights real’ project. Their expertise in design innovation brought a new perspective, exploring how music and song within a care home setting can create further openings for care homes to become community musical centres”.
The use of music in care and residential homes can have many different positive impacts on the environment. Not only does it engage and improve the quality of life for residents but also that of the carers and the residents family. Carers have said that the music can make them feel more positive and were more motivated to do their work.
However the biggest benefits of music is that it can help reduce anxiety and depression, help maintain speech and language, is helpful at the end of life and enhances your loved ones overall quality of life.