• Thom Rowlands

Dispelling misconceptions

Musicians: Nat Keen (guitar & voice) and Thom Rowlands (guitar & voice)

There’s a bit of a misconception about music in care homes which we’re very keen to dispel at every opportunity. “Care homes are full of old people who want to hear golden oldies and songs from the war.” This is neither fair or accurate. Certainly, Bridgeside Lodge is home to older residents in their 80s and 90s, but also to those in their 20s and everything in between. Any musician who arrives at Bridgeside Lodge with just a book of Vera Lynn songs will be in for a tough gig!

If you’re signed up to our newsletter (which you can do here) you’ll know that we’ve been working with resident J recently. She’s a big fan of 70s disco, 80s New Romantics, indie, Britpop and 90s RnB. J’s partner has shared some of her favourite songs with us and guitarists Nat and Thom prepared these for their session on Friday. David Bowie’s Hereos, Candi Staton’s Young Hearts Run Free, and Amy Winehouse’s Rehab were all on the setlist. J is non-verbal but is so expressive in other ways, her smile and her eyes told us how happy she was to hear these songs that meant so much to her.

Over the years we’ve been visiting BSL, we’ve found that getting to know the residents and their musical tastes as deeply as possible gives our work a greater impact. We’ve all got a song or an album that immediately transports us back to a particular time in our lives, or reminds us of a place or a holiday or a person. Stimulating these memories through music is a huge part of our objective of easing the effects of dementia and associated brain conditions and injuries.

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