Retirement Village Creates Denmark's Largest Music Garden
’Jeg ved en lærkerede’ (’I Know a Lark’s Nest’ by Carl Nielsen) is a very popular Danish spring song and now shares its name with the newest and largest music garden project ever created in the country. Danish Retirement home - ’Friplejehjemmet Hesselvang’ has recently begun transforming its grounds to create a very special destination that will entice residents and staff outside into the fresh air for some outdoor musical fun.
Hesselvang is a newly built independent retirement home located in Hvalpsund, Denmark. Featuring 24 accessible apartments - each with access to a private terrace - the retirement home also houses communal areas boasting panoramic views of the nearby Louns Lake.
Heselvang residents are encouraged to spend time outside and undertake physical activities. They are able to collect fresh eggs daily from their own hen house and visit the dwarf goats who graze on the slope adjacent. The appealing outside space features a beautiful garden full of scented flowers in the summer which will soon be filled with the sound of music following the creation of the country's largest music garden!
Recognizing the many benefits of both time spent outdoors alongside active music-making, the friend’s association - made up of residents, relatives, and staff - applied to the Danish Health and Medicines Authority's ‘relief grant for people with dementia’ for the funds to create an outdoor music garden in the grounds. Successful in their application, the Authority has allocated enough money to purchase the outdoor musical instruments from Percussion Play Denmark and to also build a suitable all-weather base, as well as training of staff and volunteers in the use of the instruments for interaction with the residents.
Following careful planning, progress on this sensory garden overlooking the lake is now in full swing with the instruments already installed and being played by pioneering residents prepared to brave the cold to see and hear what was in store for them.
Hesselvang is now looking forward to spring when volunteers will lead planned weekly events and musical activities, inviting the residents to step outside together to try the different instruments, learn something new, support each other and have fun.
A spokesperson for Hesselvang’s Friends, Dorthe Bredtoft says “Finally, the big day came when all the musical instruments arrived. We now have Denmark's largest music garden attached to our nursing home! The instruments were installed by skilled professionals from Percussion Play Denmark. So even though the weather happens to be nice right now, we are really looking forward to the warmer spring where we can really get out and make use of all the instruments.”
Hesselvang is very keen that they remain part of the wider local community with their doors usually open for visitors and social events. In the future, musical performances and sing-alongs could all be hosted outdoors in the ‘music space’ that will not only help to increase awareness of the facility but also expand social connections for the residents and encourage multigenerational interactions.