Over 2,500 groups and organisations who provide support to people living with dementia are part of our Help Point network.
In this blog Jennifer Stewart, Service Coordinator in Tayport for the Royal Voluntary Service shares how becoming a Playlist for Life Help Point has impacted their services.
The Royal Voluntary Service mobilises volunteers in every corner of Britain to support people in need and the NHS. Volunteers work with healthcare teams and in communities providing practical help and emotional support when people are struggling to cope.
I run three groups each week for older people at the Larick Centre in Tayport in Fife. I’ve used the ‘conversation starters’ resource on several occasions with all of my groups and the opportunity to talk about music and its personal connections is always a popular activity. It’s something that is so inclusive and unites the group. Although everyone has very different tastes, experiences, and memories, it’s an activity that enables every member of the group to join in.
Some of my clients who can be a bit quiet in a larger group and say very little, will always join in when we chat about musical memories, like the gentleman who became very animated when he talked about his experience of meeting The Beatles at The Caird Hall in Dundee. The conversation prompted memories not just of the music but of the fashions of the time and the girls wearing miniskirts which got some laughs from the group as they remembered what they wore when they went to concerts.
One gentleman, who has had strokes and has dementia, struggled to recall music from his youth. However, a chance remark about nursery rhymes started a conversation and he was able to recite nursery rhymes …which then sparked other memories and he was able to sing a song in French!
I’ve used the tracks which group members have talked about to put together a group playlist which we use when we do our chair exercise routine. I always say before we start on our routine that folks can join with the exercises if they can, however, if they don’t feel able they can sit and enjoy the music and singalong which always happens, and makes an activity which some folks might feel that they can’t take part in, more inclusive.
On National Playlist Day, I handed out leaflets and conversation starters for folks to take home with them. We had a musical memories session and I was able to chat to some family members about Playlist for Life and give them information to take away with them.
It’s so valuable being part of the Playlist for Life Help Point network and being able share help and advice with other groups, that I can then highlight to clients and families.
To find out more about the work Royal Voluntary Service is doing with communities across Fife, contact Alan Manzie, Service Manager, Fife Community Services.
Find out more about the national work of Royal Voluntary Services.