Over five weeks, Advisory Panel member Clare Reynolds trained caregivers with the skills and techniques to introduce music to their care of vulnerable elderly residents, many of whom were living with dementia. She also provided professional development to existing Partners who had trained in 2016. The focus during this training was on individual sessions, as there was already a regular music group running. 

The residents were in part selected to because they were socially disengaged from wider life at Moss Park. Clare’s aim was to impart the basic therapeutic principles of waiting, listening, and leading, with their caregivers. This, combined with the one-to-one nature of the project, really allowed relationships between caregivers and residents to cement and blossom. Indeed, both went outside of their comfort zones during this project. For example, caregiver Debbie remembered she could play the piano, and even brought music in – while Janet, the resident she worked with, began to build connections through song choice, opening up about new memories. 

Kim told me the following week that she had begun to use [a favourite song] daily as she helped with giving Edith her medicine. She commented to me that Edith had definitely become easier to work with since using the song and music and that she also felt she was coming out of her room more.

Clare Reynolds, music therapist

Notably, the staff also began to use music and singing in the day-to-day care of residents. In doing so, the benefit of our training began to be felt outside of music sessions as music started to become embedded into wider care. As a result of the project the residents involved were leaving their rooms, both for their one-to-one sessions and to participate in the wider activities at Moss Park. All Partners, new and old, gained skills and the therapeutic understanding to report back to Clare the positive differences that music was making to their residents’ lives.  

I cannot express how delighted I am to see that this project seems to have already helped in reducing isolation and encouraged social participation

Clare Reynolds, music therapist

This project created opportunities for the 39 residents of Moss Park to experience music as part of their care. Because new Partners were trained andexisting ones supported, the overall capacity of Moss Park to give residents meaningful experiences of music has been strengthened. Because of their incredible commitment to embedding music within care, Moss Park Care Home can now extend its offer of therapeutic music to its residents, with both group and one-to-one sessions available, depending on their specific needs.