Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy Breaking the Silence for UK People Living with Dementia

Breaking the Silence for UK People Living with Dementia

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Silent Disco King, the world’s leading provider of wireless headphone technologies recently supports Lenny, the dementia friendly barber, whose work utilises the power of music to recreate the full ‘men’s room’ experience. According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, almost 850,000 people are estimated to be living with dementia in the UK. Globally a figure of 50m in 2018 will rise to 152m by 2050, a 204% increase.

Lenny, the Northern Ireland-based barber has built a remarkable and rewarding career in the care home industry. Starting his work as a barber in December 2016, Lenny creates a unique barber service experience for gentlemen suffering with dementia. Lenny recognised the need for a male resident centred service commenting: ‘The ladies were often taken care of with beauty treatments within care homes but there wasn’t anything specific for gentlemen. Something was missing for them and I wanted to create a way in which men suffering with dementia could get together, this is where the Dementia Friendly Barber concept was born.’

A pop-up barber’s shop is what Lenny aims to recreate with every visit. Each care home dedicates an area for him and his customers. Demand for Lenny’s services now sees him in over 60 different care homes on average, every six weeks.

The barber shop is designed to be a sensory experience, which helps transport and trigger the emotions of patients who’s memory, mood and behaviour has sadly been affected by the neurodegenerative disease. The pop-up shop gives them a chance to see, feel and hear everything you would expect when you go for your haircut. An experience people who do not have dementia, may take for granted.

It is extensively researched that music is revolutionary when it comes to triggering the mind and in particular, a person’s memories, and Lenny has designed his service to achieve just that.

Experienced originally in a Silent Disco setting, Lenny contacted Silent Disco King to explore how the product features and technology could work for his care home customers. It was clear that the products would enhance the experience Lenny was trying to create but the true endorsement came when he saw the reaction from his customers, he then knew he’d made the right decision.

‘Silent Disco King headphones were the product of choice for my barbers shop experience because the features were perfect for my rather “different” application. They are quick and easy to set up and transport. Not only can patients listen to music while they are queuing in the barbers, but I can also have fun with them, speaking to the residents through the headphones and personalising the experience for each customer dependent upon hearing capabilities and preferences,’ Lenny continues.

‘It is something quite extraordinary to see the life that comes back into the care home patients when they listen to music, they can often remember the words of all the songs and enjoy a sing along with their friends. The music and memories from their era bring the care home patients together, conversations and a feeling of togetherness that they might not have been able create otherwise.’

Paul Gillies, Managing Director, Silent Disco King adds: ‘It’s truly inspirational to see our headphones used by Lenny the dementia friendly barber. It is an honour to be a part of such an important and special project. The power of music in triggering memories is one of the most powerful ways we have seen our products and technology used to date. We look forward to continue working with Lenny and his project now and in years to come.’

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