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  • Writer's pictureKate Millett

Music to promote healing

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Musicians: Nat Keen (guitar and voice) and Kate Millett (voice and ukulele)

We got some sad news from Bridgeside Lodge when we arrived on Monday afternoon. A resident passed away over the weekend. This was not a Covid related death, but an unexpected one, so everyone was shocked. We knew this resident well and he was a real music lover, so in his memory, we played some of his favourite songs as a tribute. Some of his carers and neighbours gathered in the dining room and we remembered him together. His music brought us together:

“He would have loved that”

- Leyla, BSL carer

Music promotes healing. We hoped that this would spread through the rest of BSL as we visited each floor. G on the third floor, was feeling very low. He used to be sure footed and enjoyed walking in the garden. However, in recent weeks he has become quite frail and keeps to his bed. The music and company was a good distraction. G is half French so we played him a few French songs, including 'La Marseillaise' and some Edith Piaf. He began singing along and smiling:

“Gosh, I haven’t heard those in years!”

- Resident G, BSL

Some of G's neighbours, L and B, had been listening to the music in the lounge earlier. The music relaxed L, who usually moves around the corridors, and she kept reaching forward to try to hold our hands.

G.H was unfortunately still in self-isolation. But we played to her from the corridor, and could hear her singing along.

“Thank you, much obliged!”

- Resident G.H, BSL

That evening, when we left BSL, we saw G.H’s son, who said he had been in the car park and had heard her singing. He thanked us for easing her loneliness and gave us a couple of her favourite songs for next time: requests which G.H might not have the words to make herself. In the lounge, we did some Beatles songs for super fan J. Whereas he used to sit quietly, looking at the floor, he now recognises us, keeps steady eye contact, smiles, sings along and makes song requests. During one song, a carer brought J.N in to sit with us. She joined in with each chorus of 'Maggie May' and smiled around happily. Her carer told us J.N had heard the music from the other room and started singing along from there! She was very alert and quite verbal, telling us that she grew up loving music. Although we have seen her before, it was the first time she had engaged in the music. We are looking forward to our next visit with her already!

There was dancing and singing on the Ground floor and the First floor. Hearing laughter and seeing warm happy faces was good for the soul, and appeared to have a ripple effect through the home.

“I was feeling rotten, but you’ve really cheered me up.”

- Resident E.J, BSL

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