Our joint project between arts organisations in Moray has brought the popular silent discos, often seen at festivals and raves, to elderly patients at Dr Gray’s Hospital Elgin. The first of its kind in the area, the project is based upon an idea piloted for dementia patients in Australia, which revealed huge benefits amongst sufferers, including better focus, increased energy and improved mood.
On 6 and 7 September, patients at Dr Gray’s Acute Care for the Elderly Ward have been dancing to their own choice of music through specially designed headphones, in a silent disco.
Graeme and I were joined by Gail Sneddon, Dance Development Officer for Dance North (formerly Bodysurf Scotland) and Steve Gasgarth, DJ, Sound Artist and Audio Producer for Coyote Initiatives; both of whom have been delivering music and/or movement therapy to elderly patients in hospital and care settings throughout Moray.
Studies have shown that with the aid of music, dementia and Alzheimer’s patients can recall memories and emotions, and have enhanced mental performance, with real positive benefits of shifting moods, manage stress and stimulate positive interactions. It is thought that musical aptitude and appreciation are two of the last remaining abilities in dementia patients and thus being the perfect therapy. Of course when you hear music you want to move and dance and that can be extremely beneficial to elderly people in improving their balance and preventing trips and falls.
Gail and Steve have been working closely with participants to create their own playlist for the silent disco, finding music that resonates with them and encouraging them to get as much out of the session as possible.
The equipment for the discos was kindly been supplied by Silent Noize Events, and it is hoped that after this pilot the project can be expanded to other elderly groups in Moray.
As Dance North’s Artistic Director said, “This mini pilot is a perfect example of how the arts industry in Moray can benefit the local community. We would be delighted to hear from any businesses or funders who would like to support this project to deliver it to more people across Moray”.
Dance North (formerly Bodysurf Scotland) is at the vanguard of contemporary dance. We’re on a mission to promote and produce bold and imaginative events that offer people from across the globe to just down the road new opportunities to experience dance. Whether we’re introducing rural audiences to contemporary dance, promoting experimental dance practices or delivering community dance classes, we see ourselves as leaders in our field.
Coyote Initiatives design and deliver a range of projects, activities and trainings for children and young people, and the professionals who work with them in Scotland and internationally. Our focus is on youth and community engagement and empowerment, using a wide variety of creative methods and tools including music, arts, technology and nature. We work in partnership with local government, charities, social, youth and other leading organisations.