They say you’re only as old as you feel — and a rock ‘n’ roll-loving resident of a Perthshire care home clearly does not feel a day older than when she was a young woman dancing in the Sixties.
Balhousie Care Group shared the heartwarming video of resident Yvonne Brown dancing to the Elvis Presley classic Hound Dog, and it instantly put a spring in the step of the thousands of people who have watched it.
The video shows Yvonne, who is a sprightly 81, hot-stepping in the lounge at the Dalnaglar home in Crieff, before she is joined by senior care assistant Ross Balmer for a good old-fashioned 60s jive.
Ross, 21, said: “We’ve just recently got a new speaker in the lounge and every day it’s been on and it’s been fantastic.
“Yvonne absolutely loves it — it definitely takes her back to her youth.”
Ross, who has worked at Dalnaglar for around 18 months, said a number of the residents like to dance or just enjoy listening to music from their younger days — and he’s always happy to join in and learn some moves.
Mrs Brown’s daughter, Yvonne McLeod, said she is touched to learn her mum’s zest for life has brought cheer to so many people who have seen the video.
“I’m over the moon,” she said. “I see joy all the time in her face and I think it’s lovely to know these things happen when we can’t be there with her.
“I just can’t praise the staff highly enough.”
Mrs McLeod said the former senior charge nurse’s lifelong love of music remains despite her having Alzheimer’s and says it has a hugely positive effect on her wellbeing.
Mrs McLeod works for the charity Music in Hospitals and Care in Scotland and regularly plays music to residents at Dalnaglar and other homes.
She said: “I couldn’t overestimate the importance of music to my mum. She does get agitated sometimes and music is the one thing that calms her down really quickly.
“When we go in we always play music with her. Mum’s used to dancing because she has three grandsons and her youngest grandson was dancing with her last week.”
Care home manager Pamela McAllister said the video is typical of the kind of care Dalnaglar aims to provide.
She said: “It’s all about keeping people moving, showing their interests and it shows how good a relationship we have between staff and residents.”
She also praised Ross for his efforts to ensure the residents have as much fun and enjoyment as possible.
She said: “Ross is just really good with the residents. He’s got a great relationship with them. He’s really caring and really laidback.
“He absolutely loves it and it’s really evident in everything he does.”
Pamela agreed that music plays a significant role in the care of residents, many of whom have dementia.
She said: “Music is very important. It can be used for all aspects — if someone’s upset or distressed you can play music and it can help them relax.
“It can also trigger conversations that are so important in keeping people alert and happy.”
The video has been widely praised on the company’s Facebook page, where it has been watched thousands of times.
Corinne Hands posted: “That’s really heartwarming to see that. Obviously something she has enjoyed in the past and the carer is making it special for her. Person centred care at its best.”
Ann Robertson added: “Brilliant. That’s how a care home should be, a fun place.”
Janice Allan said: “Hope I am still dancing like that when I get to that age.”