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The soundprint of your life: a vital addition to care plans


You may have noticed the addition of the RESOURCES tab on this website. This page has been updated and includes both paid and free resources. I hope to add more soon.

It might interest you to know that this website began with the resources page at the heart of it, but things quickly became outdated while I was busy with the membership side of the business on the academy site (this site has now been closed) and then the pandemic hit so I removed the page completely.


One of the fantastic resources included on this page is Music Mirrors - please don't get hung-up on the word 'music' here. Read on to find out more from Music Mirrors founder, Heather Edwards.


The soundprint of your life: a vital addition to care plans


Each one of us is the sum of a wealth of half-forgotten, deeply embedded memories that have shaped our lives. Often these memories are linked to familiar sounds, words or scraps of music and can trigger feelings of wellbeing and safety - or sometimes quite the reverse.


A collection of auditory cues like these forms a personal soundprint, as unique as our fingerprint, and may be a source of joy and a useful toolkit for comfort at times when we feel lost or vulnerable.


For those new to the idea, a Music Mirror (not necessarily involving music!)

needs no special or personalised audio equipment. At its most basic, a Music Mirror can be a written list of cues with a few explanatory words for each one, to be kept with other personal records or added to care plans. But when written as an email with links via Youtube added to the sounds or music mentioned, one only needs a smartphone or tablet to bring the sounds to life.


Example:

I used to spend a lot of time with my Nanny whilst she cleaned the Methodist Chapel. I was allowed to pump the organ pedals and pull the stops out. She taught me how to play All Things Bright and Beautiful and we use to sing it as we polished the wood in the Chapel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPMA5I3-0Jw


Being portable, digitally or on paper means that the soundprint can follow us through life - in care, in hospital, in sickness and in health. If we move into residential care, friends and family could be involved in helping to put together a Music Mirror as a settling-in welcoming tool. Staff and carers can gain insight into who we are, and into what soothes, motivates - or drives us mad! We ourselves will have a tangible reminder of things we hold dear and a sense of ownership of our own lives.


Costing virtually nothing to make and use, Music Mirrors are in use especially in residential and dementia, hospitals and mental health settings. NorseCare, for example, providing support to nearly 1,500 people in residential and housing with care schemes across Norfolk and Suffolk, takes them as one of the pillars of both its Wellbeing and Dementia strategies.


A description, of how making and using Music Mirrors brought carers and residents closer together was published in JPMH. (Edwards, H. (2020), "Making things personal: a project promoting the wellbeing of older residents and staff in sheltered housing and care homes", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 251-257.)


In 2017 Zurich University began a four-year large-scale research project investigating the making and use of Music Mirrors in care homes, hospitals and private homes across Switzerland. The results were published and celebrated at a one-day conference in March 2022, with lectures, workshops, films and live music. Copies of the publication (in German but with many pictures!) can be obtained for free (plus p&p) from info@comesinging.org.uk.


It's so very simple to make Music Mirrors, and easier the earlier you begin - you can always change or remove things later...


Further advice and information is available on the Music Mirrors website www.musicmirrors.co.uk.





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