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Care home study is ‘all singing and dancing’ as residents show the benefits of music and movement on their health

Balhousie Care Group residents are singing and dancing their way to good health and mental wellbeing – all in the name of research into how to improve healthy ageing.

 The award-winning provider has teamed up with the University of Stirling and online music and movement provider danceSing Care for a study into the impact of music and exercise on care home residents.

The 6-month study, which kicked off this month across 10 Balhousie Care homes, surveys the health, social and mental wellbeing of residents before and after a 12-week programme of online music and movement sessions. Residents and staff will also feedback through in-person and phone interviews and focus groups.

Sheilah Harvey, Head of Operations at Balhousie Care Group, said: “We are delighted to be taking part in this study with danceSing Care and the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport. We all know we feel better after a song, a dance and some physical movement, and the positive effect on our residents is clear to us in their mood, interactions and physicality. This study will give us some tangible us some valuable, tangible results.”

Professor Anna Whittaker, the study lead from the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport said: “Our research group (SPARKLE) investigates the impact of physical activity on healthy ageing. This project is a great opportunity to team up with a digital exercise company and a care home organisation to see how regular engagement with music and movement can influence health and wellbeing. At this initial feasibility stage, it is also important for us to examine the barriers and facilitators to integrating this type of activity into the care of older people living in care homes.”

Natalie Garry from danceSing Care said: “The danceSing Care experience has been developed not just tor people in care themselves, but for the caregivers too. It can create solid change and help create a happy vibrant community with a core of wellbeing and improving fitness.  We know anecdotally that our music and movement classes are great for wellbeing, but we are really excited to team up with academics from the University of Stirling and Balhousie as care home provider to scientifically test this.  Even with the restrictions of Covid, we’ve been able to launch this project and are looking forward to seeing what the results say.”

Hannah Clark, an Activities Coordinator at Balhousie Clement Park care home in Dundee, said: “It’s exciting to be part of something that could have an impact on how care home residents use music and movement in the future. Plus, taking part in this is just lots of fun for both residents and staff.”

This marks the latest in a series of new partnerships for Balhousie Care Group, which runs 26 care facilities across six regions of Scotland. It recently announced an exclusive collaboration with Pitlochry Festival Theatre in which theatre staff are supporting activities coordinators in the homes. A trial of touchscreen tables, providing interactive activities for residents, is running in seven Balhousie homes.

For more information on Balhousie Care Group visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk

For more information on the University of Stirling SPARKLE research group visit  https://www.stir.ac.uk/about/faculties/health-sciences-sport/research/research-groups/-stirling-physical-activity-research-knowledge-and-learning-exchange/

or follow us on Twitter @SparkleStir

Full article can be found here.

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