Highland care home teams up with charity to bring music therapy to residents

A music therapy charity is teaming up with a care home in the Scottish Highlands to improve the care of elderly residents living with dementia.

London-based Music as Therapy International, a charity with over twenty years’ experience of working with care staff, believe passionately in the power of music to make the most of people’s potential, overcoming obstacles such as disability, trauma and mental illness.

Their pioneering approach sees them train care staff to use simple music therapy techniques and musical activities, providing them with resources and professional support to make sustainable change.

Invernevis House in Fort William is a NHS Highland residential home for the elderly that is committed to person-centred care and giving its thirty residents the best possible services. There is also a strong culture of staff development, and a belief in the many benefits of using music with the residents living with dementia.

The collaborative project will run for six weeks and will see Invernevis House’s staff trained to use music in a therapeutic way by a professional music therapist. Although initially led by the music therapist, over the course of the project Invernevis House’s staff will gradually take on leadership of the music sessions, so by the end of the project they will be able to run their own music programme independently.

The project takes place as public recognition of the power of music for tackling dementia and improving care is at an all-time high, and the project will coincide with the dementia care themed BBC Music Week 2019.

Alexia Quin, director of Music as Therapy International, said: “Staff retention is currently the major issue facing the health and social care sector. Yet we have seen how investment in staff, through our music training programmes, can increase confidence, commitment and morale.

“We are thrilled to be working with Invernevis House who are a great example of this.”

Claire Cameron, the manager of Invernevis House, said: “I am looking forward to seeing how our staffs’ skills, confidence and understanding of our residents living with dementia are enhanced by this training. I have always believed that music has a crucial role to play in care – creating bonds and shared experiences between staff and residents – and I am excited to see our residents benefit from music sessions.”

 Pictured: Music therapist Clare Reynolds working with an 102 year-old resident (c) Music as Therapy International / Invernevis House.