Apr 26, 2024

Improving resident experience: the benefits of listening to the radio

Listening to the radio can improve resident experience through enhanced social, intellectual and emotional wellbeing 


For many older people living in care settings, radio was at the forefront of everyday life when they were younger. For many people who are now in their 80s and 90s, a crucial part of their social and family lives was the shared experience of listening to the radio, whether it was music, dramas or news broadcasts. Helping people to maintain a connection to their life history is a crucial part of preserving their individual identities, helping also to improve their overall experience of care, and radio can help achieve just that.  

Listening to the radio provides older adults with a sense of familiarity that is important, especially when they are in a care setting. Whether it’s their favourite songs, their favourite programmes or even listening to presenters that have they listened to for many years, older adults can benefit greatly from the sense of connection to not just their own personal interests and preferences but to the wider community because they have the opportunity to maintain a connection to the news happening in the wider world.   

One of the biggest benefits that listening to the radio can have on older people being cared for is through the power of music. Dementia UK says that “research shows music can help reduce heart rate and blood pressure, relieve muscle tension and help people manage pain. It can also trigger feel-good hormones called endorphins, which may ease depression, anxiety and agitation. 

Music can have a positive impact on people’s mental abilities, too, improving attention and concentration, cognition, memory, as well as speech and non-verbal communication skills.”  

Music can be especially beneficial for those with dementia; whether it’s by listening to music or engaging with it through singing or dancing along to their favourite songs, doing so can help people with dementia in several significant ways, both in terms of their wellbeing but also their engagement with the care home community and their relationship with others.  

According to Dementia UK, engaging with music can benefit people with dementia by:  

  • Helping them to express their feelings and ideas in both verbal and non-verbal ways  
  • Acting as a prompt for reminiscing and reducing stress  
  • Enabling them to share and explore their personal history  
  • Encouraging physical exercise through dance or any kind of movement  
  • Encouraging social interaction, reducing isolation and helping to engage people in group activities – listening to music doesn’t have to be a personal experience; it can be a shared, social activity that everyone can enjoy, which was sometimes how the radio was originally engaged with before the proliferation of televisions.   

But it’s not just music that has a significant impact on the wellbeing of those who live in care homes. Radio programmes that are mainly centred around conversations can potentially help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness but can also be enjoyed in a group setting or can be a great way of prompting engaging conversations with other residents or staff based on what is being talked about.   

National radio stations can be an important source of meaningful engagement for older adults because they help them stay connected with the world around them – they can stay up to date with the latest topics of discussion in the country and the changing societal trends, meaning they are less likely to feel isolated and removed from their wider national community. Regional stations have a similar impact as they help older people stay connected with their local communities, as well as allow them to remain connected to a region or part of the country that they strongly identify with and have cultural ties to.   

This can be felt even more profoundly if older people engage with podcasts. Podcasts were first created back in 2004 but it wasn’t until around 2014 that they truly started taking off and growing in popularity, coinciding with the rise in streaming and downloading from the internet. Now, there is a podcast for almost any interest imaginable, no matter how niche, and can be enjoyed at any time and at your own pace. And, like radio, they are easily accessible to those who might have visual issues or might struggle to hold something in their hands.  

When looking at some of the categories of wellbeing care as discussed by our expert Jade Ellis in her recent blog on the importance of living and not just existing, podcasts offer a range of benefits for older adults, such as:  

Enhanced intellectual wellbeing through mental stimulation  

Podcasts provide a huge amount of mental stimulation for people of any age but especially for older adults. As podcasts can cover a wide range of topics from true crime to history to science or art and anything in between, informative podcasts that discuss interesting topics in an entertaining way can keep older people open to new ideas, facts and perspectives. This means that while they are a great avenue for rekindling fond memories, they are also a powerful tool for lifelong learning and intellectual wellbeing.  

Increased social and emotional wellbeing through a connection to the world  

Through the discussion of current events, social issues and cultural trends, podcasts allow older adults to stay connected to the modern world. This not only reduces feelings of isolation, but, like radio, it also gives them the opportunity to have more engaging conversations with family and friends as well as other residents in the care home community. Podcasts can also help reduce loneliness because they provide a sense of companionship through listening to the host's voices and conversations.   

Radio stations, whether global stations or local ones, alongside podcasts, have a unique ability to enrich the social, intellectual and emotional wellbeing of older adults living in care settings, and to get the most out of what they can offer, you can invest in a platform that offers the best of both by using Radioline, the newest feature of the Oomph! On-Demand Wellbeing & Activities Platform 

www.oomph-wellness.orghubfsOomph Radioline Feature (1)

Radioline operates much like a streaming service and is available through the On-Demand platform simply by clicking on the radio icon on the bottom left side of the screen. It provides residents and staff with access to 110,000 different radio stations and podcasts from all around the world, offering some of the most popular and well-known programmes as well as local, special interest programmes.   

Radioline can enhance the wellbeing of those living and working in care because it creates opportunities for reminiscence sessions, offering familiarity and comfort as well as supporting teams to run multicultural activities utilising worldwide stations. It helps residents maintain a connection to who they are, and their wider community, and gives them opportunities to learn something completely new!  

Want to learn more?

Seamlessly integrated into the rest of the On-Demand platform, which offers over 3,000 activity ideas for residents and staff to enjoy, Radioline can bring transformative benefits to those living and working in care. To find out more about how this is done, why not click below to book a consultation to learn more about Radioline and the rest of the Oomph! On-Demand Wellbeing & Activities Platform?   


April 26, 2024

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