Liverpool has been receiving international attention recently thanks to its status as host city for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, which took place between 9 and 13 May. Britain’s Sam Ryder secured the prestigious booking for the UK last year with his highly credible second-place position, just behind the winner, Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra. The contest has shown the world how music can bring nations together to compete in an arena of encouragement, fun and mutual respect.
Music can be a powerful tool to help people connect, raise spirits, evoke memories and support mental agility. As such, it should be a regular and important part of life in a care home. The good news is that music can be integrated into so many different events, activities and routines. It can also form the basis of its own activity and be used as a type of therapy. It’s never too late for people to learn a new skill or take up a new interest, and music can help with these types of goals as well.
Here are five ideas for incorporating music into your care home’s routines, activities and events.
External performances: live music in your care home
Who doesn’t enjoy a concert or musical show with live performances and the chance to listen and watch up front? Many care home residents would enjoy the chance to do this again, but with the convenience of not having to leave home to get to an entertainment venue. There are all kinds of musical acts and groups that would be happy to do a show in your care home. From tribute acts and singers to local choirs and children’s groups, there is a huge variety of musical entertainment options out there to choose from.
Internal performances: any home-grown talent out there?
As well as thinking about external performers, there could well be people among your own residents and staff who would be keen to give a performance for the rest of the care home community. Ask around to see if anyone plays a musical instrument, or would be happy to sing alone or in a group. Perhaps you could set up a choir for those who fancy learning some songs together. Or dust off the piano and encourage anyone who fancies it to have a play.
Every night is music night?
See whether you can incorporate music into regular routines at the care home more often. For example, can you have music playing during mealtimes so people can listen to it if they don’t want to chat. You could also play music in the dayroom and other public spaces to create a pleasant atmosphere and raise spirits. There is a lot of research that shows how beneficial listening to music can be to people living with dementia, so having tunes playing more often could really help calm people down if they are distressed and help them remember events linked to what they can hear.
Plan your own Desert Island Discs
The popular radio programme, Desert Island Discs invites well-known personalities to talk about the pieces of music that they would theoretically choose to sustain, inspire and comfort them in the solitude of living on a desert island. This idea can be transferred to a care home setting very easily. Anyone wishing to participate is invited to name a few favourite tunes, which can be played to the rest of the group. The person then explains why they chose each piece and what it means to them. A great way for people to get to know each other better and perhaps discover more common ground than they knew existed.
Themed outings around the wonderful world of music
Finally, music is a great theme for day trips and outings for your residents and staff. From theatres and concert halls to music workshops and ‘sing-alongs’, there are lots of ways to bring music into the day’s events. Do some research online about the musical links that your local area has and see how many places you can find that would make an interesting themed day trip location. Many stately homes and museums contain interesting musical instruments of the past, or have connections to local musicians and composers.