Older People

‘The service he provides is of the highest quality. His input has enhanced the lives of our service users and they all very much look forward to Steve’s sessions. With Steve’s contribution the service users have developed a real appreciation for music as well as developing very individual tastes.’

Gwyn Morrison, Senior Manager, Sense Scotland, Finglassie


Everyone can share in music…

…whether fully able, or needing extra support and age isn’t a barrier either. As we get older, musicality and the sense of rhythm are among the last functions to decline, so people of an advanced age in care – even with dementia – can still benefit from taking part. Staff are often surprised by the level of ability people still retain if given the opportunity to express themselves. Unity Music offer both drum circles and interactive performances. Go to Health & Wellbeing to see other benefits for older people. Click on the blue links for more information. Apart from having lots of fun, they’re also sociable occasions that encourage more confidence and engagement. Each person takes part on their own terms – some may prefer to be present without using an instrument and this is fine too as they’ll still be involved through active listening. Without the pressure to ‘perform’, people are then free to choose if and when to engage through playing, and while the session is underway, each participant is given individual attention throughout the process showing that whatever they can contribute is valued. Sessions are carried out in hospitals, care homes, day centres and wards, and in the community, for support organisations and at conferences. Participants may also improve:

  • listening skills & communication

  • motor ability & spatial awareness

  • understanding of cause and effect

Please note: if you’re an establishment where people are normally given support, at least one member of staff needs to be in attendance while the session is underway so this can still be carried out, if needed. Staff are then also able to suggest particular instruments and preferences individuals may have. 

These are the options:

Drum circles – Unity Drum

These focus on rhythm using drums with hands or beaters, and accessible percussion instruments where call & response techniques are used to focus attention. Sessions are often lively and exuberant, but if people come with an agitated frame of mind, they can be designed to be more relaxed through using melodic instruments such as tone chimes and singing bowls, and also ocean drums and rainsticks, that allow the person to focus on just ‘being in the moment’. See also Health & Wellbeing.

Interactive performances – Unity Song

By using familiar songs, people may recall happier times that lead to improved communication through conversation. Many sessions have been run through the charity Music in Hospitals.

Continuing Professional Development

Unity Music can also provide inspirational training for your staff that impart skills which can be used daily with your own service users. Please get in touch for more information.

If you’re an organisation, discussion beforehand is important to clarify any aims you need for the session and to discuss appropriate ways for staff to give support, especially if there are specific needs for individuals that should be taken into account. See Get in Touch.

After every session, activities that have worked particularly well are noted, and what others may be improved for the future. This may also include a verbal review and/or written feedback from participants and staff especially if particular outcomes have been sought. Comments are always greatly valued and appreciated in order to continue to provide the best possible professional service.

It may be possible to access funding for your event. Check out the Big Lottery Fund for eligibility.