by K Kym Wating
Ended on August 24th 2015
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Bow & Curtsy is an old time social dance program for folks in aged care, being development by Dr Kym Watling and Mr Geoffrey Bates of the musical duo Watling & Bates, of Unumgar NSW.
As professional musicians, we enjoy playing for aged care facilities and, like many performers, have done so as volunteers, or for a small contribution towards fuel costs. Despite the lack of remuneration, we find this work to be the most satisfying of all our musical gigs, and have chosen to specialise in this area.
Photo by Kath McKillop, Care Connections Seniors Concert March 2014
Our idea is to develop a program that features old time music to evoke social memories of dances in country halls, to rekindle memories of love and friendship, create a positive social space, and promote gentle movement to music. We hope that our program will bring social, physical, and cognitive stimulation to people in care, resulting in improved mood and other intrinsic health benefits.
We have been accepted under the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) to develop our idea into a viable business. Our Cert III in Micro Business Operations and business plan have been completed and we are now mentored by the Nortec Small Business Support Unit in Byron Bay.
Initial trials of our Bow & Curtsy program held during Seniors Week in Kyogle were a great success, both with local care providers and senior participants. Through our experience at these trials and subsequent work at aged care centres, our program has developed into a 2 hour session consisting of three half hour musical sets. The breaks between these musical brackets feature stories, discussions, and sharing of historic ‘show and tell’ objects and images.
We are now ready to move to implementation trials, which will help us adapt our musical performances to meet the needs of the aged care industry. These trials will be held over six weeks and six centres during September – October 2015, and will guide us toward optimal delivery of our service in the aged care environment when we formally commence our operations in 2016.
We aim to present the results of our implementation trials at The Art of Good Health & Wellbeing Conference to be held in Sydney from November 17-19. This will place us in an excellent position for consideration by major industry stakeholders, policy makers, and funding bodies. We will then be in a position to lobby potential sponsors to support our service in 2016 in partnership with participating centres.
Once our service is established, we will work toward collaboration with research academic Dr Dafna Merom, Associate Professor in Physical Activity & Health at the University of Western Sydney, in order to study the efficacy of our program as a health intervention. If we can show that music is indeed good medicine, we can move closer to the inclusion of musicians in the policies and budgets of care facilities as a creative health intervention.