Residents and staff at a specialist Bridgwater dementia care home were delighted to welcome back members of the local Salvation Army band and have been having a joyous time revisiting favourite traditional hymns and songs.
Prior to Covid the Sally Army were regular visitors to Avalon Nursing Home on Taunton Road in Bridgwater, but there had been a long gap since their last visit due to the pandemic.
Activities organiser, Lisa Priddice, said: “We were thrilled to see them again. Their special brand of music gets our residents really involved; they simply love hearing that fabulous brass and joining in with the hymns and songs they know so well from their youth.”
The Salvation Army offers a special programme for people living with dementia called Singing by Heart which uses singing to help their audience members connect with others and bring back memories.
The scheme uses a mix of popular hymns such as ‘Joy in my Heart’ and popular songs like ‘Moon River’ which span the decades. Each song has been carefully selected to ensure they are fondly recognised by the people listening. The session at Avalon was led by Lieutenant Heather Culshaw.
Lisa Priddice said: “It is widely acknowledged that music can trigger past memories and feelings in those living with dementia.
“Musical memories are among the last to fade, and our residents really enjoy a good sing-along and can often remember word-for-word the songs they used to sing years ago.
“We all thoroughly enjoyed this session – connecting to songs they used to sing at Sunday School and reliving other fond memories from the past.
“They were tapping their toes and singing away and it was wonderful to see how much everybody was enjoying themselves.
“Our residents also had a great time contributing to the music by playing various instruments, and some prayers were included in the programme to offer a spiritual dimension for those so inclined.
The visit by The Salvation Army is part of a packed programme of activities, now fully resumed in a Covid-safe fashion, at Avalon which is part of the award-winning Camelot Care group. The group runs other homes for people living with dementia in Wellington and Plymouth.
Information on The Salvation Army can be found here: https://bit.ly/3xYU3cM