Gregory House in Grantham took part in an innovative programme to encourage the use of music to promote engagement, participation and communication between residents and care staff. This in turn contributed to an environment where they are happy to live and work.

The project is supported by professional musicians from Live Music Now and has helped to embed musical skills training for staff. The project itself has also been funded by Comic Relief. Over a six-month period, there have been 12 sessions held at Gregory House.

The benefits of musical participation for older people, especially those who are living with dementia, have been well documented and are now formally recognised by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE -  Older people: independence and mental wellbeing guidelines). Music itself can have many positive effects on mood and wellbeing, but in addition to this it is also an effective tool for improving communication and therefore tackling isolation.

Good relationships are a foundation of good care and the project has helped foster stronger relationships between residents and staff in a number of ways. The music sessions have been uplifting and enjoyable for staff and residents and have also provided a safe space for self-expression, interaction and learning about each other. By making and talking about music, staff and residents have got to know each other and found new ways to communicate. By helping steer the creative direction of the sessions, all involved feel a sense of ownership of the project, increasing confidence and community cohesion.

Anna Lewkowicz, Home Manager for Gregory House, comments: “The whole team has enjoyed working with Live Music Now to help our residents in the home. It has been such a fulfilling activity and to be able to see immediate benefits and the wonderful interaction between the residents and carers.”

Live Music Now is a UK-wide initiative, created by Yehudi Menuhin and Ian Stoutzker in 1977. Every year, the musicians deliver thousands of interactive music programmes in care homes and hospitals, and a range of community and healthcare settings. They also work in special schools, where music can make a huge difference to the lives of children and their families. An offering of specialist support and training provide young musicians with skills and employment at the start of their professional careers, across all genres of music.