Karaoke is helping to raise the spirits of residents at a care home in Salford which is on lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
Justine Campbell, manager at The Willows Care Home, set up the activity with the help of activities coordinator Gemma Kirk, after noticing how singalongs boosted the mood of her residents, especially those living with dementia.
Due to the coronavirus lockdown, the home is not able to let family and friends visit and many events at the home that involve visitors have been cancelled.
But the care staff at The Willows have set up Skype and WhatsApp video calls so that residents can stay connected with their families.
Luckily, the karaoke sing-alongs have been able to continue and are helping raise the spirits of both residents and staff.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, evidence suggests music can improve the mood, behaviour and wellbeing of those living with dementia. Many people with dementia are still able to enjoy music and to sing even when they start to lose their language abilities.
Gemma, a singer in her spare time, supplies the karaoke equipment and leads the sing-along, encouraging both residents and staff to share the enjoyment of singing familiar songs.
“The uplifting effect the karaoke generates is wonderful – it’s brought residents who are usually quiet out of themselves and has raised their spirits during this period,” said Justine.
“The lyrics are displayed on a large screen, but the residents mostly choose well-loved songs from their past, so even those who are often confused and forgetful suddenly remember every single word of a song.
“Everyone enjoys singing along, some get up and dance, others just enjoy tapping their feet, especially if we play a bit of Elvis! Even after the session residents are much chattier and are laughing and smiling all afternoon.”
Cancer survivor Trevor Owens, aged 63, has been a resident at The Willows since May last year. Trevor had lymph node cancer in his neck and shoulder which later spread to his mouth and was treated with radiotherapy.
Justine explained: “Trevor loves singing and dancing, he especially enjoys karaoke and his song of choice is My Way by Frank Sinatra. He’s thrived at the home and his face just lights up when he sings, he’s had more than one member of staff quite emotional listening to him.
“Each resident chooses to participate in their own way. It works so well because for that hour there’s just music and fun and no other distractions, something we all need at the moment!”