What is music therapy in care homes?
For decades, people have believed in the power of music. It possesses an innate ability to connect to people and bring about positive change in their lives – and music therapy is a formal way of harnessing this experience. Sessions are organised by trained music therapists with a postgraduate clinical qualification in music therapy, who may also hold a degree in music or psychology.
At Brendoncare, we work with our residents living with dementia on a one-to-one basis and in groups, depending on what is most appropriate for the person.
What are the benefits of music therapy?
The benefits of sessions can include calming anxiety, reducing agitation, reducing feelings of isolation, supporting self-expression, inspiring positive social interactions and promoting the movement to music. Whilst pursuing specific session aims, the music therapist’s core aim is to build a supportive relationship with the people they work with and to provide a safe, open space where the person can act spontaneously and express themselves.
Arash Bazrafshan is a qualified music therapist and the director of MusiKind. He facilitates both group and one-to-one music therapy sessions at Brendoncare Froxfield, our specialist dementia care home in Wiltshire:
“I find it a privilege to work with such amazing residents and such a highly trained and committed care team. The one-to-one sessions are focused on working with residents who are more at risk of isolation or who are living with more progressed or acute symptoms associated with dementia.
Group sessions are focused on creating a sense of community in the social areas of the care home. This happens through promoting a care-free attitude to musical engagement and supporting positive social experiences between group members and staff. Sessions often involve residents singing, dancing, and playing instruments.”
Is music therapy Covid-safe?
Arash explains that since the start of the pandemic, both he and his sessions have adapted to change, with music therapy moving online, via live video calls:
“It has been a significant adjustment for the residents, staff and for me. We feel that the sessions are going remarkably well. Whilst we have been pleasantly surprised by the level of engagement in the online sessions, we are keen to resume onsite sessions once it is safe to do so. I believe strongly that relationships bring the most value in any therapeutic interaction, and an integral part to all relationships is simply being present together and sharing whatever arises in sessions… Whether it be moments of joy, sadness, of spontaneous musical expression or moments of silence. “
Arash Bazrafshan holds a degree in music, a master’s in music therapy and a Dementia Care Mapping qualification. The latter is a person-centred assessment method that uses long periods of non-intrusive observation to better understand how a person is responding to their care environment. The goal is to make positive changes in their care.
Arash chose to specialise in the area of dementia care after witnessing his Grandmother living with the later stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Arash was inspired by watching his Grandfather playing the piano and how this brought about significant positive changes in his Grandmother’s mood and social interactions. Using his experience in the area, Arash has also developed an iPad application called Musikind, designed to allow carers to access more benefits of music in their roles in a care home.
With this accessible support tool, Arash hopes to increase the frequency, variety and quality of therapeutic music being used by staff in all care homes in the UK. The Musikind iPad app has won a Solutions of an Ageing Society award from UnLtd; it’s also a finalist for the Innovation Excellence Award at the Dementia, Care & Nursing Home Expo 2021.
This Spring, Arash is also running to help raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. To sponsor him, click here.
Dementia care at Brendoncare
The Brendoncare Foundation has specialist dementia care homes in multiple locations in Hampshire, Wiltshire and London. Each home offers individualised, personal care in a safe and familiar environment:
Would you like to learn more? Our friendly and helpful team are happy to answer any questions you may have. Please call 0300 303 4866 or email us.