Service users and their families at some of Bield’s care homes in Fife are set to join a pioneering project that uses music to improve the quality of life for those living with dementia.
Bield’s Gillie Court and Grants Bank in Dunfermline and Finavon Court in Glenrothes will be the first to implement the scheme, Playlist for Life, which was started, and is still based, in Scotland to help ease the symptoms of dementia.
Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government’s People and Communities Fund, the developments will make use of iPads, iPods and headphones to enable tenants, their families and staff to build up a playlist of familiar and meaningful songs from their past.
Alleviating anxiety and agitation and often helping to reduce the need for medication, listening to music from your past can delay and even negate the need for more extensive care.
Brenda Robertson, Manager at Gillie Court, who has been involved from the planning stages, said:
“I first found out about Playlist for Life from a friend of mine who is a musician and straight away I knew I wanted to be part of it.
“We’ve received some great training both in person and online and we’re excited to see the positive impact this will have on everyone at the developments involved.
“One thing we are hoping to do is open up the project to everyone at our developments, not just those living with dementia, as it fits so well with our ‘Free to Be’ philosophy, letting those we care for make their own choices.”
Gillie Court has already made a start, compiling playlists at their reminiscence group, as residents have enjoyed delving into their pasts and picking their favourite songs.
Alex Sinclair, 90, has particularly enjoyed playing his part of the musical goings-on in Dunfermline.
Having learned the double-bass after leaving the Navy, Alex became a musician playing with the likes of Jimmy Shand and Scotland’s King of Swing, Tommy Sampson.
He still enjoys jamming with his friends and joining in with the musical entertainment at Gillie Court, and is excited to see everyone sharing their playlists when the project strikes up at the end of the month.
Brenda added: “The appetite from everyone to get involved has been lovely to see and we’re sure it will be a huge success.”
Creating playlists in this way, with the help of family and friend encourages engagement and provides a good way of bringing people together above and beyond the therapeutic benefits it can have.
This approach is a simple way of introducing the key moments in one another’s lives to each other and embodies the person-centred care that is at the heart of both Bield and Playlist for Life.