I often think what it would be like living in a residential care facility. What I would like as a resident and how I would like to be treated. I would like freedom to make choices for myself, I would like staff to be my friends and to listen to me. I would like a clean and tidy space, my privacy when I wanted it. I would like my friends and family to be included in my care plans. I would like to be treated as a person- I would like my carers to see the world through my eyes.
Well, that is what the person-centred approach to working with older adults is all about!
The Person centred approach has its roots in the work of psychologist Dr Carl Rogers, and was further developed in the 1980’s by Dr Thomas Kitwood with Dementia in mind. It is an approach that care facilities for older adults are encourages to use, as it puts the person the centre of their care instead of a diagnosis or the stereotype of older age.
- People are seen as individuals with their own life story they have different likes, dislikes an interests.
- The person is accepted how they are. The person and their abilities are celebrated and considered ahead of a diagnosis.
- It promotes the empowerment of the person.
- It is led by the person.
- The person and their family/friends are involved in any decisions about their care.
- A person is respected and listened to.
When we think about our sessions we work from the foundation of a person centred approach. Music is a great way to foster the approach because there is so much freedom in it. There are avenues for expression and space to be filled with musical representation of the self. The facilitators are aware of this and want to enable people in this way. So, how does the person centred approach inform our Musica sessions with older adults?
- The sessions aim to provide a creative environment where a person has the opportunity to express themselves.
- The session gives a person choice. For example song choice, choosing an instrument, choosing a musical activity. That choice can be an expression of the self, particularly song choice.
- The person is heard and responded to. Both through music and any verbal communication.
- The person is empowered to play and take part in any way they can and that is fully accepted.
- The facilitator is empathetic, and is motivated to understand and share the feelings of the people within the group.
- The facilitator sees music as a creative force that can benefit a person socially, physically and emotionally and are passionate that it can add something very special to a persons day.
- By supporting the group the facilitator is able to empower the group as a whole, leading to shared experience and community cohesion.
By being available and open to people we learn so much. By listening we are informed, by sharing a moment our day is enlightened and by having fun our faces beam. I know that our facilitators get just as much from their sessions with older adults as the residents do!