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Dementia organisations fly the flag for music as new study gets underway

March 30, 2022
Alzheimer's Research UK

Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, has joined forces with Music for Dementia, a national campaign, to highlight music as a positive way to support people with dementia and inspire those who are working relentlessly on research.  

The partnership comes as Alzheimer’s Research UK is seeking volunteers with dementia and their carers to sign up to the research platform Join Dementia Research. The platform is looking for volunteers to take part in a study to explore music as a therapy. 

 Alzheimer’s Research UK will supply playlists from staff, supporters, and scientists, with the music playlists to be housed on m4dradio.com – a free online radio station available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The partnership will also see the charities share the stories of contributors’ social media and through blog posts.  

Hilary Evans, CEO of Alzheimer’s Research UK who has curated a playlist for Music for Dementia said

“Music plays a very important role in many people’s lives. Music can connect people, stir emotions, trigger memories and be a source of comfort or inspiration. Like many people, I have personal experience of dementia in my family and these music choices reflect these experiences. Dementia stands out as a condition that carries an enormous impact but is met by a desperate lack of effective treatments, and research offers the best hope for changing this.”

Grace Meadows, Campaign Director from Music for Dementia, said:

“At the heart of Music for Dementia is a passion to harness the power of music to improve the quality of life for those living with dementia and their carers. Music’s role to support health and wellbeing has come into sharp focus in recent years and we know that music can improve and enhance the quality of life for all. That is why we are very excited to be joining forces with Alzheimer’s Research UK, this partnership is a fantastic opportunity for the two organisations to come together to use our collective influence and shared commitment to broaden the way people think about dementia and to create positive outcomes for people living with dementia and their carers. Next month we will be launching our Power of Music report, alongside UK Music, to continue shining a light on the integral role of music in dementia care.”

Graeme Armstrong, whose wife Trina Armstrong is living with Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA), and has also curated a play list said:  

 “Music plays a large role in our lives. We have always loved music, but it is particularly important for Trina now her PCA is quite advanced as it has allowed her to both socialise, as part of a singing group, and provide escapism and enjoyment when she is at home”

“As her form of dementia means her vision is almost completely gone, her world has shrunk dramatically, but listening to and singing along to music allows Trina to stay connected to the outside world and the artists she loves. It really boosts her mood.” 

Alzheimer’s Research UK is also looking for volunteers to sign up to the Join Dementia Research service to take part in a music-related dementia research study. Prof Keith McAdam is looking for 1000 volunteers to help investigate whether personalised music listening could improve behaviour and psychological symptoms.  

Through collecting examples and evidence of the ways music helps, the team want to look at how personalised music can be used a standard part of dementia care in the UK.  

Volunteers must have dementia or be a carer for someone with dementia. Involvement in the study will last up to three months and will be conducted entirely online, meaning it can be done from the comfort of home. 

Tim Parry, Director of Alzheimer’s Research UK said: 

Without volunteers, we will not be able to make the progress in research that people with dementia and their loved ones deserve. Volunteering for dementia research can be extremely rewarding and is vital for helping get important studies off the ground. 

To sign up and register an interest in taking part in the studies, ring Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Dementia Research Infoline on 0300 111 5111 or visit the Join Dementia Research website.