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A Choir in Every Care Home

19 September 2017

Regular live music can significantly enhance quality of life for older people living in care homes, as well as staff, carers and family members. 

“Creativity and innovation are key ingredients in outstanding care homes, and regular singing and live music activities can help care homes positively address all five key questions our inspectors ask of care homes.” - Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of the Care Quality Commission (CQC)

A Choir in Every Care Home is a new set of free resources to inspire and support care homes to engage with music. The project is a unique collaboration between 35 leading national organisations from adult social care, music and academic research. It is led by Live Music Now, Sound Sense and Canterbury Christ Church University, and funded by the Baring Foundation.

During the past two years, these organisations have worked together to investigate the growing evidence that singing and music benefits the elderly, and find examples of best practice. It includes surveys of over 400 care home staff and musicians, the largest ever review of academic research about music for older people, and its findings on quality assessments have been supported by the CQC itself.

The latest resources from the project are being launched simultaneously on 20 September 2017 at the “Best Practice in Care” conference in Birmingham, and at the “Campaign to End Loneliness” event in London. 

Of the research, Professor Stephen Clift says: “Taken as a whole, research on group singing for older people shows convincingly that singing can be beneficial for psychological and social wellbeing, and that it may be helpful in helping people to manage a wide range of health issues, including mental health challenges and physical health problems associated with chronic respiratory illness and Parkinson's. It is clear also that singing activity can positively engage people across a spectrum of severity with dementia.”

The new resources include videos and toolkits to help both care homes and musicians perform more, higher quality singing. They are available together with the detailed research data and findings here

“This is only the beginning,” says consortium partner Åsa Malmsten of Sound Sense. “Music is essential to our lives, and proven to benefit our mental and physical health, regardless of age or background. If the care sector embraces this, the evidence and resources we have collected could improve the quality of life of millions of people for years to come.”

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