Case Studies

Songs for You

  • Artist(s):
    Kate Allan
  • Artform(s):
    Music and singing
  • Commissioner(s):
    South Staffordshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Funder(s):
    South Staffordshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Barchester Homes, Concertina Trust, The People's Postcode Trust, Awards for All & Shropshire Council
  • Venue(s):
    The Trinity Centre, Meole Brace, Shrewsbury Shropshire
  • Duration:
    Ongoing
  • Health Need(s):
    People with dementia and their carers
Summary:

An opportunity for people with dementia and their carers to come together for a musical hour – with visiting musicians and the chance to sing, chat and share tea and cake.

Project Information

People living with dementia, including carers are welcome to come and join in our Songs for You group every other Tuesday afternoon 1.30 – 2.30pm at Bridgtown Community Centre, Ground Floor, Bridge Court, Orbital Plaza, Watling Street, Bridgtown, Cannock, Staffordshire WS11 0DQ

These fantastic sessions have been funded by Staffordshire County Council’s Community Development Fund and Local Councillors Funds.

Local singer Gillie Nicholls leads the sessions and encourages any carers with music experience or voluntary musicians to bring along their instruments.

Clinical staff from Parkside House, Cannock and staff from South Staffordshire Carers Association attend to measure how everybody benefits from these sessions and to offer further support.


2013

Tuesday 3 & 17 December


2014
Tuesday 7 & 21 January
Tuesday 4 & 25 February
Tuesday 11 & 25 March
Tuesday 8 & 29 April

Sessions are free as are refreshments.

For more information contact Helen Wilson Arts For Health Project Worker, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust on 01785 221328 (ex 5710) or Dr Angela Park House Cannock  01543 431529.  Visit our website http://www.southstaffsandshropshealthcareft.nhs.uk/Services/Arts-for-Health/Default/General-Information.aspx

The sessions take place every other Thursday in a central Shrewsbury location and are open to our services users with dementia and their carers.

"Rachel loves the singing sessions. They have given her great emotional uplift which lasts long after the session is over. Singing is something she can still do when so much else in her life has disappeared. It is so important to her to be able to say "I can still do this!" Keeping Rachel positive and contended is so important to us both. I enjoy the singing sessions too and all the benefits they provide us help me to survive this very difficult time too". Alex  - a carer

Songs for You sessions are run by professional performer/ singer Kate Allan, who is an experienced singing for health practitioner. We have a general warm-up of sounds and vocal exercises, rounds and rhymes, well-known songs and sometimes we learn new ones. We always have time for tea and cake and a chat during the session and people who have come so far have expressed:

"Songs for you is an invaluable help in keeping people with Alzheimer's happy which makes the Carers happy too. My husband who has Alzheimer's loves anything to do with singing, dancing and music and he enjoys meeting other people. There is a good range of songs old and new for all tastes. The songs help them remember the past; they sing along and remember the tunes. It is something we can enjoy together and the carers can meet other people in the same situation and enjoy a chat over a cup of tea and cake at the end and not feel so alone and isolated. So, please keep it going – it really does make a difference." A carer

"These sessions have been one of the best things my mum is able to do. Music appears to tap into a person where mere words cannot. It has been a joy to accompany mum and learn new songs for me, but not for her, she knows most of them. The organisers are sensitive and caring people who gently lead the session – but amazingly allow the participants to lead as they are able and so the whole session, though carefully prepared appears to be led by the participants. This means everyone feels comfortable. It is interesting to see how rhythm, rhyme and dance etc all appear as we sing together. Laughter, some tears and a general feeling of enjoyment shared with others. Please keep the sessions going, they are invaluable, not only to those suffering dementia but their carers too! Thank you". Debi Angell, a carer.

South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust provides mental health, learning disability and specialist children’s services across South Staffordshire and mental health and learning disability services in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Powys. We also provide some services on a wider regional, or national basis.

We aim to be positively different through positive practice and positive partnerships. What matters most to us are people; the people we work to provide effective services for, the people who work for us and the people we work in partnership with. 

The Trust provides an assessment and treatment facility for older people over the age of 65 years presenting with an organic disorder such as Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia.  In the field of dementia, underpinned by the National Dementia Strategy, services are being encouraged to focus on their development in the community and thereby reduce the over-reliance on an exclusively medical model of provision.  Arts for Health is developing ways of engaging with patients and their carers through creative activities that support their well-being and general health.

Our Dementia Lead recognises the need to find creative activities to support people with dementia; our partners in Alzheimer's and Age Concern have worked with us to develop this singing programme based on their own experiences of working with people with dementia and current research into the disease.  We have found from trial sessions, that by providing creative activities, people with dementia and their carers can take part together on an equal basis; as participants they are stimulated positively by the activity and it can re-engage the patient with their real self and with their carer. It raises self-esteem and confidence because whereas patients might be losing their memory for other everyday things, the lyrics and songs remain with them - they are something they still remember and can get enjoyment from the singing. It reconnects them with their true self and people ‘come alive’ when they are singing together.

We have been continually fundraising to keep the sessions going as we have now built up a strong and regular group that provides stability and belonging in a fun and creative environment. The sessions help to reduce isolation; concentrate on what people ‘still have, not what they have lost; reconnect them with themselves and their partner; give meaning to their lives and promote general healing.

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