The emphasis on wellbeing as a vital part of a good life balance has shifted in the past few years. It’s now universally recognised as significant factor for all of us, coming into sharp focus in the last 15 months due to the stresses and isolation of lockdown.
Music’s contribution to the wellbeing of people living with dementia and their carers is well documented through research studies and lived experience. The host of benefits of this wonderful and varied art form is relevant at any point on a person’s dementia journey. (See our Musical Dementia Care Pathway for inspiration).
The Oxford English Dictionary defines wellbeing as ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy’. We think of it as being multi-dimensional, incorporating elements such as how you feel physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. All of these elements can be lifted through music’s extraordinary power.
We’re celebrating this World Wellbeing Week (21-27 June) by highlighting just a few of the activities that people with dementia are able to get involved in, independently or with family and carers, to live their lives well with music.
- Make playlists of favourite music – even choosing the songs gives you a boost as you remember the times you associate with them. Use the opportunity to think and talk about what the music means to you and why, maybe make notes or voice notes of these for children and grandchildren to cherish.
- Sing with others – virtually over a video call, in a group session or choir. Singing relieves stress, boosts immunity and lung function, improves mental health, enhances memory, and helps you cope with physical and emotional pain. Can’t sing? You don’t have to be good at it to reap the rewards, just give it a go. Such is the popularity of this type of activity, there are many to choose from on our Musical Map.
- Watch a musical – it’s amazing how familiar we are with certain musicals and how we can recall many of the words to songs and tunes, from old favourites like Oklahoma! or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers to more recent classics such as Joseph, Grease, The Sound of Music or Fidler on the Roof.
- Take part in a music- or song-making workshop – there’s something incredibly fulfilling about being immersed in making music with others, either live or online. You don’t have to be musical to play a part in the experience. Examples include Wigmore Hall’s Music for Life programme or interactive Musical Shares videos from Orchestra of the Swan.
However you choose to spend Wellbeing Week, we’d love you to make music a part of it and note the difference it can make.