Studies have found that music can be powerful therapy tool which can trigger fond memories, bring a sense of calmness and improve cognitive function for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Knowing the great benefits that music therapy can have on both mental and emotional wellbeing, Siobhan looked into signing up for a 12-month Spotify subscription, which not only provided access to an array of music genres and artists but also meant that the music could be played uninterrupted by ads, which is a regular feature in the free version.
“I starting noticing that the residents were listening to the same music over and over again because there wasn’t really any opportunity for them to listen to other types of music,” Siobhan said.
“We were often using YouTube and the other free music platforms which often come with ads, which can be a lot louder than the music itself, which can be quite distressing when it goes from nice calm music to loud advertising.
“So the idea was to give our residents more choice of what they want to listen to.”
Another huge benefit in paying for a Spotify subscription is the ability to create personalised music playlists based on each resident’s individual tastes.
“What I’ve found with Spotify is that when you listen to one artist, like Frank Sinatra, it will then suggest other artists that are similar which the residents also like listening to,” Siobhan said.
“There’s a wide range of music and it kind of builds a playlist based on what you’re interested in, so it gives you that variety of music choice.
“It’s also a good opportunity to introduce other residents to each other’s music tastes.”
As part of the Music and Memory Therapy project – which was funded by MercyCare’s CEO Innovation Fund – Siobhan also bought four Bluetooth speakers which are spread across the different wings at the home to allow residents to access their music playlist when they want to reminisce, relax and unwind.
“I got four new Bluetooth speakers as well so that I could have them in our quieter rooms to provide opportunities for our residents to have some time either by themselves or in a small group to listen to things that they like, because sometimes the communal areas can get quite busy,” she said.
“We have a quiet space in each wing anyway so the portable Bluetooth speakers give us opportunity to use these rooms more.
“The other benefit is that we can use it in a palliative care capacity, so we can take a playlist and play it for that person in their own space to provide them with comfort as well.”
Siobhan said there has been an overwhelming positive response since implementing Music and Memory Therapy across the home.
“We were recently able to find a personalised ‘Happy Birthday’ song for one of our residents,” she said.
“It was really lovely to be able to play a wider variety of music which gets the residents up and dancing.
“It’s nice to be able to play a variety of songs and not just the same music over and over again. It also means that we get to know some of the songs that our residents like.”