The power of music and its healing effects are being celebrated by Royal Star & Garter ahead of World Music Day on 21 June.
Despite issues caused by the pandemic, the charity will be celebrating the importance of music in its Homes through videos and photos and sharing the thoughts of people who sing and play for the residents.
Music plays a vital role in the care provided at Royal Star & Garter’s Homes in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe. The charity provides loving compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia.
Music is carefully chosen and wide-ranging to reflect residents’ choices. The range of activities which involve music such as Music Club, Star & Garter Singers and Movement to Music reflect its significance.
It is especially important in the care of people living with dementia, where research shows it helps to lessen anxiety and depression and can become a communication tool when a resident’s speech fails. It is also thought that music and rhythm can remain with someone long into their journey with dementia.
This is backed-up by Musical Therapist Izzy Swinhoe-Standen, who works with residents at the High Wycombe Home. In her blog for Royal Star & Garter, she says: “Music and song invoke memories and emotions when nothing else can.”
Also writing a blog is singer and Health Care Assistant Jodie Halls. Her first experience with the charity occurred when she came to the Surbiton Home to perform to residents living with dementia. Jodie was so impressed with the love, warmth and care she saw that within months she was working at the Home. She said: “I often sing to the residents when I’m caring for them. There’s one resident who enjoys jazz and I enjoy singing Sinatra. He loves it when I start singing to him. He knows the words and joins in, and it’s so lovely to share that moment with him. It’s pure joy.”
Royal Star & Garter was awarded £70,000 of funding in 2019 from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust via the Positive Pathways programme, to support musical activities over two years for resident’s living with dementia.