Anne Barwell, Manager of Clifton View Care Home accessed ‘Soundtrack to My Life’ training through the musicworks’ Care Homes Project. A keen musician herself, Anne felt the programme would enhance the lives of the residents. By providing person centred music they hoped to help residents in many ways, including relief of anxiety, providing comfort and distraction during personal care and to evoke memories through reminiscence. Anne also felt that it would benefit the staff and family members of residents by providing conversation prompts around life stories.
The ‘Soundtrack to My Life’ training programme includes the process of completing a ‘Soundtrack’ book with a resident. Anne chose to work with Mary because she had heard her joining in with other musical activities at the home. Anne also spoke to Mary’s daughter who joined them for some of their conversations around Mary’s music, memories and life story.
Mary loved chatting and singing with Anne and her daughter but occasionally found it frustrating if she couldn’t recall a particular memory or song. Anne learnt a lot about Mary through the process about her mother and father and the dynamics of the family through discussing their music. Her mother had been a singer and had taught Mary to sing and that is why she still loves singing so much.
Anne said “I have lots to talk to Mary about as I know much more about her. I will also sing with Mary more as I now understand why she loves it so much. I feel closer to her daughter as I know more about her past with her mother and her grandparents. We had many laughs completing the ‘Soundtrack’ with Mary.”
Both Anne and Mary’s daughter plan to use the music collected in the book at the Care Home and also when Mary visits her family. Anne added “Mary will love having a good sing which is what she did with her mother. This makes her feel very happy as her childhood with her mother was wonderful”.
Other Staff and Resident Experiences
Brogan, a Care Assistant, completed a ‘Soundtrack to My Life’ with Ada, one of the residents as part of her training. During their conversations, Ada found it easy to talk to Brogan about her past and her memories and got up and started to dance. Brogan said that their conversations had been more in-depth than usual when discussing the music and had brought back memories that Ada has previously forgotten.
Rebecca (Care Assistant) worked with a resident called Harriet. Rebecca wanted to work with Harriet as she was always singing. She was amazed at the variety of music that Harriet loved and discovered she was a fan of the Spice Girls. Rebecca plans to make a playlist of Harriet’ music to “make her smile”.
Samuel (Care Assistant) worked with Peggy who had already shared that she loved music. Samuel said that Peggy now had more respect for him as he had wanted to learn more about her past, her life and her music and because they both share a common passion for music.
Sara (Care Assistant) chose to work with a resident that she already felt that she knew well called Wendy. Even though they already had a good relationship, Sara said she learned more about Wendy, her feelings and what is important to her through ‘Soundtrack’.
The learners created the following list of their plans for introducing more music at Clifton View during the training sessions:
- Play music at mealtimes to create a calm environment
- Group activities based on the Soundtrack to My Life toolkit and build playlists
- Ask families to bring CDs for use in bedrooms
- Devise a way to capture information for care plans
- Organise a choir or Glee Club with staff and residents
- Regular sing-alongs (daily) – staff more confident
- Karaoke, Disco, Dancing
- Find out people’s strengths to get them involved in organising activities
- Buy a piano
- Buy percussion instruments
- Have a “Resident of the Day”
- Take people to music events
We look forward to hearing more from Anne and her team about the music activities at Clifton View.
Please note: Images used do not show residents or staff. Residents’ names have been changed.