OPINION: The healing power of music

Music is now viewed as one of the most immediate and effective therapies for improving the wellbeing and mood of people living with dementia.

It is regularly cited by the CQC in its reports on Outstanding care homes as a key means of providing personal centred care.

CQC Chief Inspector of Adult Care Andrea is a paid up subscriber to the benefits of music therapy, recently stating: “Music can have a wonderful impact on enriching people’s lives.”

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This year’s CQC State of Care report noted how music therapy can reduce anxiety and/or depression in nursing home residents with dementia and may enhance overall wellbeing for adults with dementia.

Music has the power to improve people’s mood by evoking fond memories and acting as a positive stimulant.

It has been proven to increase communication between residents and build relationships between staff and carers as well as improving residents’ cognitive functions.

Happier residents are also likely to be healthier residents with improved mood resulting in increasing appetite and weight gain.

Some trials have even reported an improvement in swallowing functions following music pilot programmes.

During my tours of care homes I have seen myself how different homes and providers use music in different ways to benefit their residents.

Simply playing soothing music communal areas can help create a calming mood and more homely environment.

Increasingly, providers are engaging residents in singing and playing musical instruments to provide mental stimulation and build a sense of community.

In the care home environment, it’s often the simple things that are most effective when providing better care. Nothing is simpler or more immediate in its benefits than the power of music.

Authors

One Comment;

  1. Andrew Durkin said:

    I think this does add to the personalization and person centered work delivered within many care homes. The danger can come about if the music to too loud and or inappropriate to the needs of the residents. I know from my own experience I have walked into some care home and heard loud music more suitable for the young care team as opposed to the residents. clearly this has been address on the visits in question and working with the staff team to get the right balance. I know a friend of mine whose mother moved into Nursing care and was re-introduced to music by a very caring and understanding senior care assistant who found out his mother loved music in the past but felt she now could not be bothered. The carer asked my friend to bring in the record collection and her old but now trendy record player and she introduced head phones helping her to better hear and not disturb anyone. This was the best tonic she could have and loved to listen to her own music every afternoon in her own room after lunch. This is one of many good practice person centered care delivered by our hard working dedicated carers here in Liverpool care homes and I am sure across the UK and Ireland.

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