• Kate Millett

"Switch that telly off!”

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Musician: Ben Hazleton (Double Bass)

“He’s been asking me every day this week when The Spitz are going to visit!”

- Ikram, BSL carer

We had been asking after resident J.C, who unfortunately was in self-isolation. The fact that an elderly resident, with vascular dementia, is thinking about us between visits, asking and remembering, is incredible. It’s a real testament to how much the music means to him, and the benefits he gets from the stimulation. As soon as we are able to visit J.C again, we will!

Although we weren’t able to visit the 3rd floor of Bridgeside Lodge (BSL), Double Bassist Ben Hazleton still had plenty of residents (and carers) to serenade. E.J was watching TV but immediately sat up, invited us into her room:

“Oh yes, yes please some music! Switch that telly off!”

- Resident E.J, BSL

We played her the song she wrote with us during the summer: ‘J’s Song’. It brought a smile to her face and she was thrilled to talk about her days as a choir girl, but, she admitted, she didn’t remember the songwriting process.

Ben played in the second floor dining room, which Gladys (a BSL carer we work closely with) turned into a dance floor. He had an eager audience. Resident Au, sat with me for a while asking about each of our Percussion Plus donated instruments; then, armed with a Maraca, danced around the room with Gladys. Au is quite quiet and rarely makes a song request. However, when J asked for 'Hey Jude', Au sang along dreamily. G.H took a front row seat, and was fully focused on the music. When her mobile phone rang she answered it and proceeded to sing down the phone. The caller clearly couldn’t get a word in edge-ways because they called back a few minutes later, only to be sung the hymn 'On Eagle’s Wings'. We hope it wasn’t an important phone call!

N.J wowed us all with his incredible rhythm again. At one point he was playing three drums at the same time! It was particularly interesting to see how much N.J wanted to help and support us. It was like he was the welcoming host at an elegant soirée and we were the musical entertainment:

"Now, where would you like to stand? Is this corner alright? Can see alright and would you like a chair?"

- Resident N.J, BSL

He was in a lovely mood and clearly enjoyed being of service to us. This behaviour reminded us of a recent article in the Guardian about how everyday tasks or objects can improve the quality of life of people living with dementia. Perhaps, before coming to BSL, N.J used to throw cocktail parties and was reverting back to a role he knew and loved.

The first floor gang are always happy to see us. Big smiles and waves greeted us when we arrived, and resident S even came out of her room to join in. She enjoys music and will occasionally have a listen and a dance with us, but we were surprised and thrilled by how chatty she was on Thursday. She even put in some requests and thanked us for coming. We both agreed, it was our pleasure!

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