A Welsh Government deputy minister is singing the praises of a care organisation that uses the power of music to bring joy to people with dementia.

Julie Morgan MS, the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, said she was impressed by what she saw and heard during a visit to Pendine Park’s Bryn Seiont Newydd care home in Caernarfon.

She was taken on a tour of the award-winning facility by Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft MBE, who is also the chair of social care champions Care Forum Wales, and the home’s manager, Sandra Evans.

According to Ms Morgan, the highlight of the visit for her was joining a singalong in the home’s music room.

The session was led by Pendine’s talented musician in residence, Nia Davies Williams, and creative practitioner Emyr Gibson, who is also a singer and actor who’s best known for his role in the S4C soap opera, Rownd a Rownd.

The repertoire included everything from the famous Tony ac Aloma song, Ti a Fi (You and Me) to some blockbuster Elvis hits.

Ms Morgan said: “It’s been absolutely wonderful walking round Bryn Seiont Newydd and seeing the lovely surroundings here, the beautiful colour schemes and the homely way it’s divided up.

“The highlight for me was seeing the piano and the songs and everybody sitting around and enjoying them, and seeing how fulfilled you can make people who may have dementia but can still enjoy singing and giving them the best lives they can.

“You could see the residents singing away  and you could see that everybody appreciated it. It’s individual care that is extremely valuable and makes a real difference to quality of life.

“With music it’s the songs that people remember when many other parts of their memories have gone.

“I think the arts generally are absolutely crucial to people and something we need to develop more in social care and it seems to me that it is happening here in this home. “

Mario Kreft was delighted the deputy minister had enjoyed the visit so much.

He said: “Music and the arts are at the heart of what we do at Pendine and it’s such a wonderful opportunity that we’ve had today with the deputy minister being able to take the time to come to Bryn Seiont to have a look at what really happens at the front line.

“The arts can make so much of a difference to your physical and your mental health, your wellbeing and one of the things we pride ourselves on in Pendine is to try to resource the arts as much as we possibly can.

“One story that comes to mind is how somebody was singing along with a resident who hadn’t spoken for a couple of years and they just launched into Calon Lân, word for word, word perfect.  How amazing is that?

“I think music does so much to enhance people’s lives and the team we have at Caernarfon, the management, the care staff, the musician in residence and creative practitioner, all work together to make sure that we do the most that’s possible.”

It was a view echoed by manager Sandra Evans who said: “Music is the first thing you learn and the last thing you lose which is why it is such an effective way of making our residents feel good.

“The songs seem to unlock something in their memories. The residents really enjoy it and their problems are behind them for a little while.”