Music has a significant role to play in enhancing the quality of life of people living with dementia and their caregivers. As part of Carers Week 2022 – taking place between 6 – 12 June – Music for Dementia is celebrating the valuable role of carers and showcasing services and initiatives that help and support carers to experience the power of music in their own lives.
Research and lived experiences show that music can help reduce the distressing symptoms of dementia, such as agitation and anxiety. But these benefits are not restricted to people living with dementia, they also extend to their loved ones, support workers and professional caregivers.
As well as reducing stress and anxiety, music can help caregivers in many other ways. Provided alongside other forms of support, the power of music is an essential element of self-care for those whose role it is to provide care for others. There is strong evidence that music stimulates the production of dopamine, the ‘feel good’ hormone and certain music can help with sleep and relaxation.
For music to be an integral part of dementia care, carers must be empowered with confidence in how to use music effectively, have the right level of support and access to musical services. The Music for Dementia campaign wants to do just that during Carers Week by highlighting some of the support available to carers.
There are numerous initiatives and services available throughout the country that support people living with dementia and their carers to experience the therapeutic benefits of music for themselves. For example:
- Musica Music’s Press Play to Rewind Programme boosts confidence in the use of meaningful music in daily dementia care by offering training to healthcare professionals through online courses and group coaching sessions.
- Playlist for Life offers free resources and support to carers in learning how personalised playlists could help a person live well with dementia. The charity helps people get started with making a playlist and choosing the right music.
- The Brain Charity’s Music Makes Us! programme offers workshops that combine singing with speech and language therapy and dance with physiotherapy.
- The Spitz Charitable Trust takes professional musicians into care homes, day centres and hospitals. Through live music, they connect with people to help improve their well-being and quality of life.
- Together with Music, an Intergenerational Music Making programme connects care homes, community groups and schools through music. The programme connects care homes and older members of the community with their local schools and young people to reduce isolation and improve mental wellbeing. It aims to train professionals and empower them to pass on the healing powers of music.
Grace Meadows, Campaign Director at Music for Dementia said:
“Carers Week is a focal point in the calendar when we can stop and celebrate the valuable work of carers. Music has many therapeutic benefits that can help carers to improve their own health and wellbeing and to manage the challenges and sometimes isolating experience of caring for someone living with dementia. That is one of the reasons why The Utley Foundation through Music for Dementia continues to fund a wide range of grassroots organisations to deliver musical services and support throughout the country. We proudly join with many during Carers Week to demonstrate our recognition of, value and support for carers everywhere in the incredible work they do each and every day in supporting people living with dementia.”