This report details the interim findings of the evaluation of the third phase of the Music in Mind (MiM) project. MiM is a music therapy group run by Manchester Camerata that offers free music therapy sessions for people with dementia (PWD) and their carers. The sessions aim to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of the attendees through music making. The report provides a brief introduction to the MiM project and summarises the findings of a literature review. It then presents the participants’ views of the MiM, as recorded in their diaries or communicated through interviews, and discusses key findings. The key themes that emerge from the evaluation are linked to the mood of the service users: feeling calmer, happier, energised and/or relaxed. Improvements were also noted in PWD’s memory and recollection, confidence levels and relationships with carers. However the extent of other benefits appears to vary greatly depending on the type of dementia the service users’ are living with and the severity of their symptoms. The findings of this evaluation seem to be in line with the literature, suggesting that MIM appears to promote general wellbeing amongst participants and have a positive impact on relationships.
This report looks at the scale and impact of loneliness among older people and argues that the arts are a powerful tool to tackle the problem. It suggests that older people need a broad range of opportunities and activities to help them maintain healthy social relationships. These can include care and befriending support, but just as important are opportunities that connect them to their communities, such as faith, learning, fitness, leisure and cultural activities. The arts are an effective way to tackle loneliness but can be overlooked by older people’s services. The report provides some practical actions for this activity to be increased and a list of resources. It contains an appended series of ten case studies drawn from some of the arts organisations currently funded by the Baring Foundation. These illustrate some of the many ways in which the arts can make a difference: in rural locations or in the inner city, in a residential care home, a community or an arts venue, through reinventing the tradition of the tea dance for the 21st century or in a major new festival.
TEATER Barbara, BALDWIN Mark
Community-based preventative programmes are increasing in demand as the UK seeks alternative ways of supporting the growing number of older adults. As the use and promotion of preventative programmes increase, so does the need for evidence supporting their effectiveness. Through the use of mixed methods, this study explored a singing community-arts programme, the Golden Oldies, to determine the extent to which the programme contributes to participants' (n = 120) sense of health, self-development and social connectedness. Quantitative analyses found that between 73.1 and 98.3 per cent of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the Golden Oldies contributed to their self-development, health and sense of community as well as revealing a statistically significant increase in self-reported health prior to participation in the programme to the time of the study. Qualitative analysis (n = 5) revealed three themes—the Golden Oldies as: (i) a reduction in social isolation and increase in social contact; (ii) a therapeutic source; and (iii) a new lease for life. The results provide evidence of the preventative nature of the Golden Oldies programme through self-reported improvements in health and social relationships where social connections appeared to be the important thread that contributed to the perceived benefits. Implications for policy, practice and research are discussed.