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Hundreds of care home residents across Scotland are set to benefit from a popular programme that has proved the benefits of music and movement to older people.
The award-winning Balhousie Care Group, recently named Business of the Year*, is extending the programme to its 26 care homes following a successful pilot study in 10 homes.
Balhousie Care Group began working with online music and movement provider danceSing Care earlier this year as part of a study with the University of Stirling into how to improve healthy ageing.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, followed 47 Balhousie Care Group residents over 12 weeks and tracked improvements in their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
“The changes to our residents’ wellbeing was notable. They looked forward to these online sessions, it bonded them as residents and it brought them closer to staff too. We are so impressed with the impact that we decided to extend this to all of our homes, starting immediately,” said Karen Johnson, Quality Director at Balhousie Care Group.
One of the homes that took an active part in the study was Balhousie Coupar Angus in Perthshire, where Activities Coordinator Patrycja Dwojak, who led the sessions. Patrycja said: “The sessions are about more than standing and sitting exercises. The music and the bespoke radio shows and concerts sparked memories. That has a big impact on our residents’ health, both physical and mental.”
Morag Shea, Home Manager at Balhousie Coupar Angus, said: “The danceSing Care sessions have become quite the event for us. We make a space in one of the lounges and the number of participants has been growing. With all the activity, excitement and music, the feelgood effect extends to other residents and staff. I’m delighted that this will keep going and extend to other care homes in the group.”
Natalie Garry from danceSing Care said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with the Balhousie team and we are thrilled to be rolling out danceSing Care group-wide to improve wellbeing through music and movement, following positive resource evaluation in partnership with Stirling University. At a time when the sector is facing unprecedented challenges, the resilience and positive attitudes of everyone involved has been simply phenomenal. It means we are teaming up for better results, sharing learning, and are without a doubt stronger together through partnership and collaboration to enrich the lives of staff, residents, and their families.”
Professor Anna Whittaker of the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, who led the research, said: “The pilot study had some extremely promising results, showing the positive impact that music and movement can have on care home residents and staff. We’re pleased to see this programme extended and hope it encourages other care home operators across the country to implement this type of initiative.
Professor Whittaker added: “In the next stage of the research, we will be working with selected Balhousie care homes to conduct a pilot randomised controlled trial which will also assess elements of physical function and biomarkers of stress.”