Music Therapy In Residental Care Homes

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Music Therapy in Residential Care for Older People

An outreach service working with residential care providers to improve the wellbeing of residents through weekly group and individual music therapy.

What we do

Since 2012, the Guildhall School Music Therapy Outreach Service has provided music therapy to a range of vulnerable people in collaboration with local services. There are currently five projects providing weekly therapeutic services to approximately 60 children and adults in schools and residential settings. The projects also provide employment for music-therapy graduates and placements for music-therapy students. Mildmay Park and The Charterhouse are two residential services for older people. Music-therapy sessions are provided weekly by Guildhall School graduate Sylvia Saunders and current student, Yair Schleider.  A priority of the project is to engage with isolated, depressed or challenging residents. Group sessions are based around the use of familiar songs with instrumental improvisation. Individual sessions are focused around developing relationships through shared music-making and improvisation. Recent systematic reviews suggest that music therapy can reduce the symptoms of dementia and the symptoms of depression. This offers improved quality of life and potential reductions in demand for more costly interventions. In one setting, music therapy was specifically requested (alongside another musical intervention) to address such needs. Service users and carers at both services have given positive feedback about the sessions, and managers are also supportive. Both services have extended their initial contract (funded through Guildhall School) by securing further fixed-term funding. We continue to work to secure funding for existing and future projects

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