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In Mature Company | Margaret

In Mature Company © Yorkshire Post - Johnston Press plc

In Mature Company is a three year project exploring the impact of music and dance on reducing loneliness for care home residents living with dementia.

We are currently working in three care homes in Leeds as part of the first year of the project. Four months in, we spoke to the wonderful Margaret, a resident of The Grove care home in Pudsey and a regular participant of the In Mature Company sessions.

Compared to other residents in the home, Margaret can communicate and move more easily. Although she socialises with a small group of the residents, she feels less of a connection with many of the other residents who have later stage dementia.

She explains: “I wasn’t so bad. Not like some people. I just had a bit of a breakdown and that.”

Her emotion and passion for the sessions is clearly visible. You only have to be in the space for a few minutes to see Margaret’s enthusiasm and love for music and dance: “It’s wonderful because it brings life. This dancing brings life to people, and the music… Thank you for coming. It’s wonderful. I just love it, I love it. It’s all good fun. You are all absolutely wonderful doing these things.”

Our researchers have observed that Margaret is fully engaged in the sessions and this is having a positive impact on her wellbeing. Within the sessions, the artists use props such as ribbons and musical instruments to encourage residents to interact. Margaret often stands up and approaches other residents, encouraging their engagement. The dance sessions are a space where she can really connect with the other residents that she doesn’t normally talk to.

Margaret has also noticed that the sessions are having an effect on herself and her fellow residents: “There is movement that [the residents] aren’t able to do anymore. [The sessions] encourage them to get back to where they were before… It’s the movement and it’s the feelings that help people. We are loved and well looked after but there was nothing moving, there was not much happening. [Now] I see people getting up singing and dancing and it gives them hope.”

We are continuing to work in The Grove over the coming weeks and look forward to starting sessions in three more care homes later in 2019.

In Mature Company is a three-year project, part of Time to Shine, a six-year programme delivered by Leeds Older People’s Forum and funded through Big Lottery Fund Ageing Better. Time to Shine takes a city-wide approach to addressing the social isolation of older people.

In Mature Company will work with 9 care homes (3 per year) between September 2018 and March 2021 to explore the impact of dance and music in reducing the loneliness and isolation of residents living with dementia.

Lauren Clarke & Lily Craig
Dementia Care Mappers™
In Mature Company | Yorkshire Dance

February 2019

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