Forgotten Voices - our Gladswood Lodge choir
3 July 2013

Forgotten Voices - our Gladswood Lodge choir

Benetas has helped people with dementia find their voice through song, in a recent research project.

Music therapy has been used for people living with dementia, yet few studies have examined the use of choral singing as a psychosocial intervention for people with dementia living in residential aged care. In response to this, Benetas piloted a trial of a Choir at Gladswood Lodge in Brunswick, for residents with dementia.

The Forgotten Voices pilot study was commissioned and funded by Benetas and undertaken by the National Ageing Research Institute, with twelve participants from Gladswood Lodge. As part of the study Youthworx, a Melbourne-based youth media enterprise, was hired to film the choir sessions.

As a result of the success of the study, Benetas has implemented a Dementia Therapy Choir on an ongoing basis at both Benetas Gladswood Lodge and Benetas Colton Close, thanks to funding from the Collier Charitable Trust. Alan Gruner, Benetas Research Consultant, said that staff feedback on the choir was generally very positive.

“There were a number of individuals who became really involved with the choir and benefited from it greatly. Resident, Guido, was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and little interest in organised activities. Guido was initially reluctant to join the choir, but after just one season, it became apparent how much enjoyment he got out of singing – he has a really beautiful singing voice! Since joining the choir, he smiles more, is more engaged with people and his mood has improved considerably. It is an amazing thing to see,” Alan said.

Gladswood Lodge held a Premiere Event, where the film was screened, with people from the choir invited to walk the red carpet. We hope to roll out the program at all facilities.

View the short film Forgotten Voices or for a full copy of the research report here.