An initiative of the Health and Community Services Volunteer Program in the West, the group is run by volunteers Tim Windsor, who is director of Flinders Centre for Ageing Studies, and clinical psychology student Victoria Allen.
Tim and Victoria invite guests to sing and play along on a range of percussion instruments to a range of music, from country and blues to rock’n’roll.
“We don’t sing songs that are too ‘old-timey’ because the demographic is changing and what people remember from their youth is changing,” he says.
"Everyone seems to enjoy it, whether it’s singing along or just tapping their feet or shaking maracas.”
Tim has a disciplinary interest in whether music can delay rates of decline in some areas.
“As researchers we spend a lot of time looking at studies and analysing data and not enough time interacting with older adults,” he says. “We know anecdotally about the benefits, but there’s not a lot of data to back it up.
“Music is something that resonates with and engages people, and it’s a great leveller.
“It appeals at a fundamental level; it creates a very direct conversation. It’s a nice way to take away those barriers around different levels of capacity and enjoy together.”
ACH Group Volunteer Manager Tay Parker says the initiative is a great example of Swan Cottage and the West Region Volunteer program working closely together to develop innovative service responses to the needs of customers with dementia.
To find out more about ACH Group’s range of respite options for people living with dementia contact Louise Bower on 1300 224 447.
* The original article appeared in the Winter 2016 edition of ACH Group newsletter 'Turning the page'.