There is something very nostalgic about old-timey barbershops. For the older men whom Lenny White caters to, it’s even therapeutic.
White runs a mobile pop-up barbershop that he takes on the road to nursing homes across Ireland so he can cater exclusively to men with dementia.
According to the Belfast-based barber, everything from the lemon-scented cologne to the light-hearted conversation makes the men feel young again. He even started using an old jukebox to play tunes during his visits so the men could listen to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra – the music that they heard when they were young.
White says that when he first set up the jukebox, he immediately noticed that the patients were more at ease.
“We instantly saw a massive difference and knew we were onto something,” White told Love What Matters. “The men would relax, sing along to the music and tap away to the beat of the music. Those that were previously agitated going to the hairdresser were relaxing more.”
White wasn’t always doing such meaningful work, however; for 17 long years, he worked as a marketing consultant for the Yellow Pages before he knew that he wanted to “change his job and do something more worthwhile”.
In June 2016, White got a diploma in barbing and became the UK’s first dementia-friendly barber.
“I feel really excited as I know these men are not only going to look better, but also feel better,” says the 37-year-old barber.
“As men get older, we have hair growing in all the wrong places: nose, eyebrows and especially the ears. It gives me huge satisfaction to get these men all groomed and looking fresher. I have so much compassion for my clients. I understand their struggles and I can feel their frustration at times. My job is to give these men time to enjoy and have good feelings through my music, set up and one-on-one time.”
“At the end of my day, I know I have given these men my all [and it] makes me feel happy that I have done something worthwhile.”
(WATCH the heartwarming video below)
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