Over the summer of 2014, researchers will be measuring the impact of live music concerts on older people living in a residential care home in Oxford.
The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT), University of Essex and Live Music Now (LMN) have formed a unique partnership to measure the psychosocial effects of high quality live music performances on older people, including those living with dementia.
The study will be run by Dr Murray Griffin and Dr Louise Marsland, of the University of Essex Ageing and Assisted Living Network, and will test a model they are developing to try and capture and measure soft outcomes which demonstrate enjoyment and engagement, such as length of smiles, amount of laughter and participation. Small changes in these indicators can be highly significant for older people. The study will take place at Longlands, a Residential Care Home in Oxford run by OSJCT, where a number of the residents are living with dementia.
Care teams at Longlands and relatives will also be interviewed for their views on the possible impact of the live music concerts on the residents' well-being and in turn how it has affected their understanding of, and relationship with, the residents.
"We are delighted that Live Music Now approached us to undertake this exciting and innovative research. Whilst the use of music in the treatment of dementia is well researched, none has used observation of aspects of engagement via video recording before, during and after interactive music sessions provided by highly talented young professional musicians" Murray Griffin (Lead Investigator)
Specially-trained Live Music Now musicians Dan Walsh and Nic Zuppardi of The Absentees will deliver live interactive concerts during their 10 weeks as 'musicians-in-residence' at the care home. Touted as one of the finest banjo players in the UK Dan Walsh is described as 'the real deal' (UNCUT). His unique and eclectic style, takes in folk, funk, bluegrass and Arabic music. Dan has been working with Live Music Now since 2010 and has performed throughout the UK in hospices, hospitals, special schools and care homes.
"For the past few years, Live Music Now has given me some of the most rewarding work I have ever done, but working as a musician-in-residence in a care home has changed my life forever." Dan Walsh, LMN musician
"We are very grateful to OSJCT for welcoming us and both them and UoE for funding the work. This important study will help to support the growing case for live music as a significant contributor to older peoples' health and wellbeing." Douglas Noble, Strategic Director: Wellbeing, Live Music Now
"Universally across our 71 homes, home managers and care teams recognise the positive impact live music can have upon residents and particularly those with the most profound of dementias. As a Trust, we are fortunate, therefore, that our Chief Executive and Trustees are committed to funding and supporting this project." Victoria Elliot, Principal Consultant for Research & Innovation, OSJCT.