With most group singing sessions still unavailable to most of the population, residents in a Bridgwater care home are among the lucky few who are able to enjoy a communal sing-song and all the feel-good benefits associated with it.
Jason Saunders, activities co-ordinator at Avalon Nursing Home, said: “Vaccines are all done here now, which is reassuring both for residents and their families, and having a good old singalong is a great way to celebrate that and let everyone know how happy it makes us all feel.
“The people we support at Avalon are all living with dementia, but musical memories are among the last to fade. It’s astonishing how some residents who struggle to find words for conversation manage to effortlessly remember all the words to their favourite songs.
“One of our gentlemen, Terry Davies especially likes to sing Danny Boy. What is lovely is that he often just starts off on his own, and then other residents are inspired to join in with him, and soon we have a sizeable group all having a great time singing old favourites together.
“We also have regular singing sessions for residents who enjoy this, but it’s always particularly lovely when the residents start singing on their own.
“Group singing seems to have a therapeutic effect on our residents. If any of them are feeling a bit tense, it seems to dissipate very quickly and it’s evident how much they enjoy themselves. It keeps peoples’ spirits up and brings us all together.
“We also have wireless headsets available so that individuals can enjoy music of their choice at any time, and these are very popular.”
Although dementia is characterised by a progressive decline in brain functions such as memory, understanding and thinking, studies in the USA have shown that the receptor in the brain which receives the music signal is never affected by dementia, and other research has proved that music lights up more parts of the brain than any other activity.
Familiar songs stimulate musical recollections stored deep inside the long-term memory, providing listeners with a unique and invaluable opportunity to feel more fulfilled in a world that can sometimes seem confusing and unfamiliar.
Avalon Nursing Home is run by award-winning dementia care group Camelot Care, which also has homes in Wellington and Plymouth. For further information see www.camelotcare.co.uk