Bashiyra is a singer/songwriter and vocal coach. As Brand Ambassador for the Action For Elders charity, she believes music can have a crucial role in improving the health and wellbeing of older people.
“It’s important to use music as a forum to engage the older community and to utilise music as a form of healing,” says Bashiyra. “It enables older people to remember back in the day when they used to listen to music, how it made them feel – and linking it to positive experiences and memories of growing up.”
Action for Elders innovative Balanced Lives Programme is fast gaining ground for its innovative approach to exercise, health and positive ageing, but the social aspect is often overlooked. Exercise and social interaction can slow down the ageing process, but how does music keep people young?
“Music allows to you reconnect, it’s all about sounds and feelings – and engaging with those sounds and feelings – just being able to let go,” says Bashiyra. “It’s important to have that sense of freedom to allow yourself to bring back great memories of the past, but also to be able to look at things that are very current in the world.”
At Action for Elders, we believe physical, mental and social wellbeing are interconnected, so it appears that interest in the arts, and music, in particular, can bring about surprising benefits.
Bashiyra agrees: “The number one thing music allows you to do is relax, unwind and not feel so isolated. It can work very much as a form of therapy, in terms of connectivity – feeling part of something – which is exactly how Action For Elders and the Balanced Lives programme works.”
“The important thing is to allow people to express themselves, not keep their feelings and anxieties bottled up,” says Bashiyra
Looking at the wider picture, can music and the arts connect older people with younger members of society?
“I firmly believe in using music as a forum to allow conversations to happen between the generations,” says Bashiyra, “by talking about the music they listen to and why they listen to it, what stood out for them about a particular band or artist. The next step is to compare it with the type of music the younger person listens to and why they like it. This breaks down barriers and allows for inter-generational access in terms of conversation and overall engagement.”
With the newfound confidence that Balanced Lives brings, it seems older people can rediscover their youth and connect with a wider social circle that spans the generations.
“The important thing is to allow people to express themselves, not keep their feelings and anxieties bottled up,” says Bashiyra.
Bashiyra’s new album ‘Independent’ is out now. For more information: www.bashiyra.com
For more information on Action For Elders and Balanced Lives: www.actionforelders.org.uk