Clients from the Wingecarribee Adult Day Centre in Bowral will have the opportunity to collaborate with professional songwriters and musicians to write, perform and record an original song.
Chair of Council’s Seniors Working Group, Councillor Ian Scandrett, said he was delighted that the innovative project had been successful in securing a $4000 Creative Ageing Grant from Local Government NSW.
“More people in our community are being diagnosed with dementia,” he said. “It can affect a person’s ability to socialise and they can become withdrawn from community activities. This initiative will engage people with dementia in a supported environment to provide social interaction and stimulate creative ageing ideas.”
Helen Denning, Service Manager at the Wingecarribee Adult Day Centre said they already had an existing group of older clients with dementia at the Centre who love to sing. “We’re confident this project will build on this interest,” Mrs Denning said. “It will give them the opportunity to work together, build skills, and hopefully result in a product they can share with family, friends and the broader community”.
Participants will work with songwriters and musicians in a series of four workshops to be held throughout November. Councillor Scandrett said he hoped the recording would be featured in the Wingecarribee Shire Seniors Week program in March 2015.
There is a body of research demonstrating the positive benefits of music and singing for people with dementia, including the potential to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and agitation. The project also taps into the well-established preserved memory for song and music, which explains why a favorite old song is easy to recall, when other memories are hard to retrieve.
The project incorporates the learnings from a similar project conducted in Ireland, where participants created song lyrics using a photo to bring back memories of their youth, going to ballrooms and dancing.
The project is a collaboration between cultural development and ageing and disability officers within Council and the Wingecarribee Adult Day Centre. Creative Ageing Grants are funded by the NSW Office for the Ageing within NSW Family and Community Services and specifically fund initiatives that support creative activities for older people, develop internal cross council collaboration and work in partnership with local stakeholders.
Councillor Scandrett noted the strong competition for funding and said, “This is a great example of what can be achieved for the community when service providers and areas within Council work together.”
“With an ageing population, Council will actively seek increased support for our seniors from all tiers of government.”
For more information please contact Eliza Hazlett, Council’s Ageing and Disability Officer on phone 4868 0866 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.