The music for dementia 2020 team are launching the first ever Musical Map for Dementia. This unique nationwide resource is helping people living with dementia and their carers find music related events and services in their area.
Music brings a broad range of evidence-based benefits for people living with dementia and yet many people with dementia and their carers do not know where or how to access them.
As part of the Music for Dementia 2020’s call to make music more accessible for people living with dementia, the campaign is asking individuals and organisations such as choirs, music groups and music therapists to come forward and submit their details to the map via www.musicfordementia2020.com.
Grace Meadows, Programme Director at Music for Dementia 2020 and a senior music therapist said: “Music for people living with dementia isn’t a nicety, it’s a necessity. Across the country there are amazing music services being offered and it is vital that people know where they are and how they can access them. This is why we are calling for all the those providing musical services to visit our website and upload the information onto the map”.
Training provided by organisations such as Music as Therapy International with local partners and teams has a tremendous impact on dementia residents, carers and relatives.
With over twenty years of experience as a music therapist, Clare Reynolds (who is a member of Music as Therapy International’s Advisory Panel) first visited Abbeyfield House two years ago. She trained the activity coordinators to use simple music therapy techniques and activities to help them and the wider care team engage their residents living with dementia.
With support and encouragement from the Care Home Manager Clare provided the team with the resources and professional support to equip them with the skills and confidence to enable them to facilitate their own music sessions with their residents every week.
“Music is a powerful tool which, when used in a meaningful way, can offer people with dementia a way of connecting and communicating with others” Clare said. “The training offered through Music as Therapy International, allows carers to develop simple musical skills alongside an understanding of what they are doing and importantly why they are doing it. It doesn’t matter if you can’t play an instrument or don’t believe you can sing; it’s about taking the time out of your busy day to sit with an individual or a group of residents and really think about what music they may like to hear and interact with. You can simply sing a song, hum a tune or listen to some recorded music; as long as you are present, staying in the moment with those individuals, matching and responding to their moods – music can have a wonderful calming impact on everyone involved.”
Staying connected and cherishing the precious moments
The team at Abbeyfield House now run regular music sessions with their residents, which has helped with the often-distressing side-effects of dementia, such as anxiety, agitation, depression and isolation. Activity co-ordinator, Bev said “I don’t expect everyone to be engaged all the time in the session but at some point during the session every resident will respond in some way, whether it is singing, or playing a small percussion instrument or tapping his/her foot. To see the residents relaxed and content is wonderful and they really get so much out of the music group. It may be the only connection they can share with somebody during that day.”
Photographs © Music as Therapy International