The benefits of music in dementia care are legion

We have grouped the various benefits into four key areas, shown below. Click on the tabs to learn more about how music can improve mental health, aid communication and self-expression, help caregiving and create a sense of community and sharing.

  • Music is a non-medical approach to helping manage and contain symptoms of dementia
  • Music-based interventions can provide a safe alternative to medication in some instances
  • Music alleviates anxiety, agitation and depression, offering a creative medium to work through and process feelings
  • It supports positive changes in mood and emotional wellbeing
  • Music offers emotionally meaningful experiences
  • It helps to reduce social isolation through its inherently social qualities
  • Music can enliven, stimulate and energise
  • Music helps to reduce apathy and encourages interest and attention in activities happening around a person, bringing them out of themselves
  • Music positively supports confidence and self-esteem
  • Active musical participation can help to maintain skills, providing a sense of achievement
  • Music can support the retention of speech and language skills
  • It also offers a non-verbal, creative means of expression
  • The stimulating effect of music encourages alertness, enabling greater motivation to communicate and connect with others
  • The flexibility of music enables different levels of participation, and offers opportunities for the musical experience to be person-centred
  • Memories of songs are linked to a person’s identity – their personal and cultural identity, history and life events
  • Music can support memory recall, and the ability to appreciate and engage with music remains intact even as cognitive functions deteriorate
  • Musical engagement offers a way to keep in touch with and explore one’s own creativity, opening up new or unfamiliar ways for self-expression and communication that do not rely on the use of words
  • Music can offer and provide new experiences, hearing unfamiliar music, playing an instrument, singing with others in a choir for the first time. Music is more than just the golden oldies tunes
  • Music supports staff and residents’ relationships and promotes caregivers’ communication with residents
  • Brighter moods of people being cared for boosts staff morale and enables care to be more person-centred
  • Musical engagement supports other services, such as, physiotherapy programmes
  • Music listening can be an easy way to support daily tasks and personal care, changing the way someone experiences everyday routines
  • Music supports carers to see the individual they are working with for who they are. They experience the people they are caring for in different ways, seeing them beyond their dementia
  • Music can provide stimulation, focus, a sense of togetherness and help shape the rhythm of the day
  • The ripple effects of music being part of care, the positive impacts of engaging in musical interactions can be felt and experienced and shared with family and carers
  • Music transforms a care environment, having a positive effect on residents, visitors and staff.
  • Shared musical moments enable individuals to enjoy music with others; it facilitates quality time with friends, family and carers
  • Music creates communities, offering inclusive, meaningful social experiences
  • It supports active participation and enhances awareness of others and enables relationship-building
  • Music is readily accessible and supports people to be in the here and now
  • Music resonates deeply with people, tapping into their identity and their experiences. It enables people living with dementia to stay connected to who they are, the people and their world around them.

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