Abbeyfield and Wesley Housing Association celebrated BBC Music Day today (Thursday 26th September) by bringing music to all of its residents across Northern Ireland.
The charity hosted special Musical Teas in its 18 supported, sheltered houses in Ballycastle, Ballyclare, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Bangor, Carrickfergus, Donaghadee, Downpatrick, Greenisland, Holywood, Lurgan, Newtownabbey and Portstewart as well as its three sheltered schemes in Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey and Belfast.
In addition, trained local dancer, Charmaine McBride, delivered movement and music sessions, and Belfast Ukulele Jam group performed for residents at Palmerston Residential Care Home in East Belfast, which is owned and managed by Abbeyfield and Wesley. A number of other Abbeyfield and Wesley homes also had visiting musicians or singers.
The theme of this year’s BBC Music Day is music and wellbeing; the power of music to inspire, to bring us together and make a positive impact. Each Abbeyfield and Wesley house celebrated this aspect by compiling its own Playlist for Life based on residents’ and staff’s music choices and these were played during BBC Music Day.
Sally Campton, Volunteer and Community Outreach Manager for Abbeyfield and Wesley recently became the first person in Northern Ireland to become a registered Playlist for Life trainer. She has already provided Playlist for Life training to 14 staff and 7 relatives of residents at Palmerston Residential Care Home in East Belfast, which is owned and managed by Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association.
Sally explained how music can be a positive feature in resident’s lives:
“The Playlist for Life initiative has really opened my eyes to the power of music to reach all people but in particular those with dementia. It can alter mood and have a very calming effect. Personal meaningful music can bring back feelings, memories and sometimes even abilities thought lost. It can also strengthen relationships, reconnect families and used as a therapeutic intervention, it can even help manage some of the symptoms of dementia. A personal playlist makes the power of music available to people wherever and whenever they need it.”
Mrs Campton added: “Playlist for Life is now going to be a regular part of the way Abbeyfield and Wesley supports our residents, in particular those living with dementia, and their families. Residents and family members have already provided very positive feedback on the initiative and have enjoyed getting involved in creating the unique and personal playlists.”
Claire Davies and Karen Mudge, daughters of Palmerston Care Home resident Muriel Jones, were part of the first relatives’ group to receive Playlist training. Karen Mudge said:
“Mum is sometimes quite agitated, but her music helps soothe her. And on days when she is not so engaged and non-verbal, her music lifts her. You can see her smile and there’s a thoughtfulness – you can see it must be connecting with some particular memory.
Claire Davies added: “If mum can’t verbalise, she can still sing the words of a song or a favourite hymn. You can reach her with music. It’s like you find mum again for that moment, which is just lovely for us too.”
Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association plays an important role in local society by providing a range of high-quality accommodation and services to older people throughout Northern Ireland, from purpose-built apartments right through to bungalows and flats offering independent living for active elderly and supported sheltered houses for those requiring additional support while maintaining independence and residential care.
Congratulating Sally Campton, Mrs Geraldine Gilpin, Chief Executive of Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association, commented:
“Sally has been working diligently for many years to increase understanding and awareness of dementia. She has been heavily involved with our award-winning Palmerston Magical Memory Garden in East Belfast and has delivered an extensive range of dementia awareness training to individuals, community groups, organisations and churches. She is also a volunteer and Dementia Friendly Communities Champion with the Alzheimer’s’ Society.
“Last year Sally won a prestigious Alzheimer’s Society People Awards 2018. The judging panel selected Sally as the overall UK winner in the Aiming High category. The outreach that Sally undertakes is extremely important as the number of people living with dementia is consistently rising. The new Playlist for Life initiative will no doubt further enhance the quality of life for those in our care.”
For further information on Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association please check out www.abbeyfieldandwesley.org.uk
For further information on Playlist for Life check out https://www.playlistforlife.org.uk/