Residents at a Wellington dementia care home have enthusiastically embraced the latest musical innovation offered for their entertainment during lockdown – drumming on exercise balls.

Co-ordinator Richard Dempslake, who leads the activities team at Camelot House and Lodge, launched an appeal to residents’ families through their Facebook group requesting donations of exercise balls to enable the residents to give the activity a try.

Richard said: “We had a great response – many thanks to all the donors! – and we also managed to get hold of some drum sticks, so we gave it a go and the residents love it.

“I put together a playlist with big band music on and we all play along to that. Some residents go freelance and do whatever they like, whilst others play along with the music.

“One of their favourite tunes is When The Saints Go Marching In. They can build up quite a rhythm to that one.”

Involving people with dementia in group exercise activities is commonly known to be a challenge among care teams, but research has shown increased levels of participation during experimental condition observations where rhythmic music accompanies the exercise activities.

“Drumming on exercise balls offers a double win for our residents,” said Richard Dempslake.

“First because the balls – although very light – are big enough that drumming on them is actually a gentle work-out.

“And second because the activity is music-led, and music therapy of all sorts continues to enable our residents to access deep-seated memories in a way that other activities can’t rival.”

Camelot House and Lodge is located on Taunton Road in Wellington and run by award-winning care providers Camelot Care. The group runs other specialist dementia care homes in Bridgwater and Plymouth.