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Local care specialist advises singing with loved ones that you care for

Remember the classic movie of 1952, Singing in the Rain? Local care specialist Dr. Fredrick Hölscher, managing director of the Dunstable, Luton and Leighton Buzzard Walfinch home care service is encouraging people caring for loved ones to practice the magical experience of singing.

“We are ‘singing in the pain’ of dementia!” declares Frederick, who encourages his care workers to sing with their dementia clients. Amy Humphries, his team’s care manager, has been doing this for some years, including engaging the families to join in the singing and even dancing.

Frederick has seen the effect of singing for himself, after trying it with a lady of 95 who finds it difficult to communicate because of the erosion of her cognitive abilities.

“That day she did not want to get out of bed and felt very grumpy. She kept on shouting, ’Leave me alone!’. The care worker found a song by one of her favourite singers, Engelbert Humperdinck, on Spotify and I asked her to join me in the song.

“Soon we were singing together, and I was amazed at how she still remembered the words. It was followed by a few other songs and the grumpiness gave way to a smile and a twinkle in her eyes. I will never forget when she put her head on my shoulder as we walked down memory lane singing one song after another. We had a human moment of connection and I wondered what went on in her mind,” says Frederick.

He adds: “Moments like these enrich our lives as care workers. I call them ‘pearl moments’ of human connection. As humans we tend to avoid or get rid of our pain and irritation, but pearl shells do not do this – instead they embrace them inside the shell and coat the irritations with layers of fluid until they become beautiful pearls.”

Frederick encourages the local Walfinch team to create these ‘pearl moments’ not only for people with dementia, but for anyone needing care.

He says: “I often wonder if dementia gives us an opportunity to learn new or often forgotten skills of communicating beyond words, to re-connect emotionally and spiritually with our loved ones.”

Frederick and his care team offer visiting home care by the hour for people seeking companionship, social care or specialist care for dementia, MS, Parkinson’s, after strokes, physical injuries and rehabilitation. Temporary respite care, flexible care trials while you decide on care needs, and live-in care are also available.

He is also recruiting carers, offering flexible working, good pay rates and award-winning training, support and career development.

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