Residents and staff at Prince George Duke of Kent Court in Chislehurst are celebrating the return of life-enhancing music therapy sessions brought to them through their partnership with Nordoff Robbins music therapy charity.
Nordoff Robbins is the largest independent music therapy charity in the UK, dedicated to enriching the lives of people affected by life limiting illness, isolation or disability.
Carers at the Home say that the weekly sessions with Nordoff Robbins music therapist, Ellie Fletcher, have a ‘transformational effect’ on the wellbeing of their residents, particularly those with advanced dementia.
Violinist and pianist Ellie, is spending a whole day every week at the Home, working with small groups of residents to make music together.
Mum of two Ellie began her visits to the Home last year whilst training on the Nordoff Robbins Master of Music Therapy programme. Ellie has since completed her training and is now a fully qualified music therapy practitioner, employed by Nordoff Robbins.
The charity and Prince George Duke of Kent Court have worked in partnership to ensure that Ellie’s music therapy sessions are Covid-safe, strictly following Government guidance.
Like the Home’s staff, Ellie is regularly tested for Coronavirus, she wears a visor and PPE, and works at a safe distance of three metres from residents. The sessions take place in the Home’s large open lounge.
Research has shown that music can have enormous benefits for older people. For those with dementia music can be a powerful tool to help increase wellbeing and alleviate stress and anxiety.
Even minimal movements, such as tapping a foot or clapping hands is enough activity to release pent-up mental and physical stress. For those who are able, moving to music is a wonderful way to get some exercise. Being swept into the rhythm of music can lower blood pressure and stimulate organs in the body.
Among the residents basking in the music this week was 89 year old, Mollie Watts, who is a trained opera singer. Mollie said:
Music therapy is brilliant! With music in your heart, you can overcome anything.’
It’s such an enormous privilege to be back at Prince George Duke of Kent Court. I got to know the residents so well last year and it’s wonderful to be able to work with them again. Music is so powerful in the way that it breaks down barriers in communication and enlivens people. It taps into memories and sparks conversations like nothing else.
Home Activities Coordinator Valerie Allen, said:
Ellie’s music sessions are so uplifting, the effect that they have on our residents’ health and wellbeing is transformational. For example, one of our residents with advanced dementia who rarely speaks, was encouraged by Ellie and another of our residents to join in. Quite out of the blue, she suddenly began to join in with the music! It was extraordinary to witness and everyone was very moved by it.