Resident, Balhousie Care Home
I enjoyed the fitness part of it the most and have become familiar with the moves as they were easy to follow. I love music and found the music part of the programme very enjoyable too.
One resident who particularly felt the sessions had a positive impact on their health and wellbeing was 79-year-old Robert Wilson, a resident at Balhousie Coupar Angus Care Home.
Robert has always enjoyed an active lifestyle, being a former gym member who did Tai Chi, swimming, and used weight machines. He found that the danceSing Care sessions helped to keep him active and social.
Robert said: “I very much enjoyed taking part in danceSing Care exercise and music sessions. I think I’ve benefited a lot from taking part in the programme as the sessions have kept me active and helped to improve my wellbeing and even my fitness.
“I enjoyed the fitness part of it the most and have become familiar with the moves as they were easy to follow. I love music and found the music part of the programme very enjoyable too.”
Care home staff also benefited from the injection of music and movement into their weekly routine, with team members reporting improved mood, physical health and job satisfaction.
Bonds have been strengthened even more between staff and residents, with the programme encouraging increased interaction between the two groups. Residents with dementia were also noted as being “calm”, “content” and in a “happy place”, which in turn had a positive impact on staff wellbeing.
Professor Anna Whittaker, the study lead from the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport said: “The early results of the study are extremely promising in terms of the positive impact that music and movement can have on care home residents and staff alike. Giving residents something to look forward to and a chance to engage with one another has visibly improved their quality of life, which is exactly what we were hoping for. Such good results at this stage are really promising for the future, and we hope this type of programme could be implemented in care homes across the country before too long. We did also identify some challenges to delivering the programme in care homes which we will address in our future research.”
Karen Johnson, Quality Director at Balhousie Care Group, said: “As a care home operator we see first hand the benefits of music and exercise to our residents. However, to have this tracked, documented and researched to such an extent is valuable both to us and the whole social care sector. Our homes thoroughly enjoyed being part of this pilot project and feasibility study, and we hope to see such programmes extended to more care homes across the country.”
Natalie Garry, from danceSing Care, said: “The danceSing Care experience has been developed not just for people in care themselves, but for the caregivers too. It can create solid change and help create a happy vibrant community with a core of wellbeing and improving fitness. We know anecdotally that our music and movement resources positively impact mental health, emotional wellbeing, physical condition, and improved socialisation and were excited to team up with academics from the University of Stirling and Balhousie Care Group to prove this. Even with the restrictions of Covid, we’ve been able to launch this important research project which will positively impact the provision of music and movement resources for older people.”
The success of the novel pilot project highlights the possibility of similar activities being adapted and rolled out across the country into the future, with further studies underway and in planning.
A realist evaluation of the feasibility of a digital music and movement intervention for older people living in care homes study is available. Further analysis is expected to be conducted and published in the coming months.