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Power of live music creates new memories for Houghton care home residents.

Live music is bringing smiles, dancing and happiness to older people living in care.

The residents of Dairy Lane Care Home, in Houghton-le-Spring, enjoyed their own live  music experience thanks to Music in Hospitals & Care – a charity that improves the health and wellbeing of children and adults through the healing power of live music.

A grant of £4,200 from County Durham Community Foundation, through the RWE Great Eppleton Wind Farm Community Benefits Fund, will provide live music experiences for seven care homes in County Durham.

Live music helps those with dementia

The second of these, and the first since the Covid-19 pandemic, was held on Tuesday, with residents lighting up at the sound of their favourite old-time songs, played by Leonard Brown from the charity on his accordion.

Every year Music in Hospitals & Care’s professional musicians share live music with over 100,000 people from across the UK, who may not otherwise get to experience it. This includes those living with dementia, who have mental health problems, or who are seriously ill.

Barbara Osborne, Chief Executive, said: “Research shows that live music heals. It helps people feel relaxed and confident, and can relieve frustration, stress and isolation. Music can also reduce the perception of pain. It brings back memories and helps create new ones.

We see people interacting with our musicians by doing everything from smiling to getting up to dance or sing. Live music can transform relationships between patients, families, health and care professionals, residents and carers. When people enjoy music together, they feel more connected to each other, which leads to more personalised care.”

Bringing people together

Care Homes were hit incredibly hard by the pandemic, with data from the Care Quality Commission recording more than 39,000 care home deaths between April 2020 and end of March this year.

As restrictions ease, Music in Hospitals & Care is looking forward to sharing live music in person with more residents and staff after over a year of solely online live music experiences streamed from musicians’ homes.

Barbara said: “During 2020 we have seen, perhaps more than ever, how music brings people together, unlocks memories, and supports health and wellbeing.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have been determined to share the healing power of live music with those who need it most.

“Thank you to County Durham Community Foundation and the RWE Great Eppleton Wind Farm Community Benefits Fund for making this possible.”

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