Care Home Entertainment Ideas
Is it your responsibility to come up with some entertainment ideas for your care home residents? You probably already know that music in care homes is always an activity that our dear elderly ones enjoy, singing along refreshing there memories and lifting there spirits.
My Incredible Experience as a Care Home Singer
Music is food for the soul but not everyone enjoys the same genre. For this reason, not every patient responds to the same music and this is why I focus on the old classics like “Fly me to the Moon” or “Que Sera Sera”. Many of these songs appeal universally to a particular generation and it’s easy for this age group to relate to famous numbers like “Close to You” and “Wonderful world.”
In fact, the response to these classics is such a joy to witness and something which has made me even more passionate about music in general. In other words, I have had the pleasure of seeing so many dementia patients light up to the sound of Frank Sinatra and smile to the words of Judy Garland.
In case you might be asking yourself, I have always had a passion for song and my dad was even a professional jazz drummer who played many gigs in the Royal Albert Hall. I grew up with the sound of Julie London, Buddy Rich and Oscar Peterson in the home, and we had a baby grand piano on which I learnt to sing for the first time.
In later years, I went on to train in piano music at Blackheath Conservatoire and produce my own album at the Chocolate Factory. However, more recently, I have started to work as a care home singer and take great enjoyment from watching the smiles on the resident’s faces.
Just so you know, I also have a portable P.A system and microphone which allows me to interact with the care home residents and my set-list of old-fashioned songs usually lasts for one hour.
Now, that’s not to say you want to book me in as your care home singer already but rather to tell you a little about myself and why I am so interested in the benefits of music in the care home. And I do not need an equity card.
Speaking of which…..
Some More Benefits of Music for Dementia Patients
Music Can Prompt Patients to Recall Memories and Cognitive Ability
As already mentioned, music can help people with dementia to recall certain emotions in their lifetime. Also, by combining music with every day activities in a care home, this process helps patients developer a rhythm that can
improve their cognitive ability.
Song Can Reach Beyond Dementia
According to Linda Maguire, a leading researcher, musical appreciation is one of the few remaining abilities of patients with Alzheimer’s. Needless to say, the same applies for dementia and music is a great way to reach past the disease and re-connect with the individual.
Music Can Help Dementia Patients Open Up
Late on the dementia cycle, patients can become unresponsive and lose their ability to share emotion with care givers. With music, patients can often open up and even feel like dancing which inevitably leads to touching which brings further memories and security.
Music is Highly Engaging for Dementia Patients
Music engages much more than meets the eye and this is certainly true when it comes to the brain. For example, singing is known to activate the left side of the brain, while listening to song activates the right side and watching people dancing activates the visuals. Still with me? Great!
Simply put, music is a stimulant for the brain and a fantastic way to nurture the mind power of a patient.
Music Tends to Stimulate Positivity
We could all do with more positivity in our lives and according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, music can shift mood, reduce stress and bring about a greater sense of positivity. While the reasons might seem obvious, this also happens because music does not require much mental processing or the cognitive function that may no longer be present in people with dementia.
Why Care Home Entertainment Singers Have Such an Impact for Dementia Patients
It’s true that recent studies have proven how music therapy can induce a feel good feeling. In fact, music can help produce chemicals such as serotonin, melatonin and prolactin, which are widely known to improve and enhance the mood of a patient. Needless to say, this also has a positive impact on the care giver and even evokes a sense of nostalgia for the patient.
However, nostalgia is just a small part of this process and much more than sentimental longing is needed to evoke a meaningful reaction from patients with dementia.
That is to say, music for dementia has little to do with nostalgia and here’s another reason why…
I remember reading an article some time ago by a UK professor in which he outlines why dementia patients are so responsive to music. Professor Paul Robertson was a concert violinist who dedicated his life to the study of music within the capacity of dementia care. According to this professor, the auditory system is the first to fully function in the brain which means that humans are receptive to music after just 16 weeks. However, the auditory system is also last to breakdown in terms of dementia which explains why patients are so responsive to song and music.
By the way, please do get in touch if you would like to book me for your care home or discuss what I can do for you as a care home singer!
Jose has vascular Dementia, she will remember all the words to the old songs and sings with feeling.
What Songs do I sing?
My Favourite Things,
When you’re Smiling,
The Black Hills of Dakota,
Fly me to the Moon,
Doh a Deer,
Leave your Dishes in the Sink Ma,
Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner,
How much is that Doggy in the Window,
Let’s Call the Whole Thing off,
Whip Crack Away,
Close to You,
Mother should know,
I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles,
Que Sera Sera,
On a Bicycle Built for Two,
The Penny Whistle Song,
Wouldn’t it be Lovely,
We’re a Couple of Swells.
Please email me for bookings and fees firstname.lastname@example.org
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Care home Entertainer Singer
What Areas Do I Cover?
I can offer my care home entertainer singer service in Dartford, Greenhithe, Swanley, Bromley, Chislehurst, Gravesend, Erith, Bexley, Bexleyheath, Belvedere and Sidcup. Also, South East London, Blackheath, Greenwich, Lewisham, Woolwich, Thamesmead nursing and care homes.
How Care Home Entertainment Singers Can Help Dementia Patients
Let’s be honest, caring for a person with dementia is not easy and even downright depressing for the care giver at the best of times. It’s true, there is no cure for this degenerative condition and dementia can really take its toll on everyone involved. What’s more, one in three people eventually develop dementia in the UK and this number is only expected to increase in the decades ahead.
But what does this mean exactly and what has this got to do with music?
It means that care givers need all the help they can get and music is not only incredibly fun, but also a great way to connect and help patients with dementia.
As a care home entertainer singer, I spend a lot of time researching and learning about the impact of dementia. More specifically, I try to better understand why music can have such a profound effect on patients with dementia and my experience in this respect is nothing short of mind-blowing.
Recent Studies and Proof that Music Can Help Dementia Patients
You see, recent studies show that people with dementia can recall certain emotions or memories when they hear classic hits from their favourite singers, movies or shows. While the reason for this effect was unclear for many years, it would seem that researchers have finally got to the bottom of this mysterious finding. Simply put, music is a stimulant for the brain which does not require much mental processing or cognitive abilities that may not be present in a patient.
For example, the Music & Memory Program went viral recently when they produced a YouTube video that featured a senior dementia patient who had been especially withdrawn for decades.
Henry was either incapable of communicating with staff and incoherent when he tried, but the care givers never gave up on their patient. In an effort to incite any sort of response from Henry, the above program made contact with the care home and suggested that they give the patient an iPod with his favourite music.
If you watch the video, you will see that the response was immediate and without a moment of hesitation, Henry’s eyes lit up as he recalled some of the old classics from years gone by. What’s more, he spoke clearly all of a sudden and reminisced about how much he enjoyed dancing in his younger years.
I’m not saying that I have ever witnessed such a profound impact but there is most definitely a response any time I sing in a care home. From my research, I also know that music is proven to touch many parts of the brain and this is especially true of those parts which did not sustain damage due to disease. I think Dr. Laura Mosqueda at the Irvine School of Medicine explains it the best when she refers to the impact that music can have on dementia patients as being an “astounding awakening”.