Music for Dementia 2020 website launches in UK

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A new website for the music and dementia sectors, Music for Dementia 2020, has launched in the UK.

The website is the first ever central information hub for advice, evidence-based research and expertise on why music is important for people living with dementia and their carers.

Music for Dementia 2020 hopes to support the International Longevity Centre UK’s report published in January 2018, What would life be – without a song or dance, what are we?: A snapshot report from the commission on dementia and music, by making access to information about music services easier.

In a direct response to former Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt’s 2015 pledge to make the UK the most dementia-friendly country in the world by 2020 and current Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock’s 2018 recommendation that GPs prescribe personal playlists along with other forms of musical activities to help manage and reduce the symptoms of dementia, the website and its associated campaign will work to ensure that everyone living with dementia has access to music by 2020.

About Music for Dementia 2020

Music for Dementia 2020 will promote a wide range of musical activities available for people living with dementia – from how to compile a playlist to advice on how to find a music therapist.

The website is structured for interactive use by carers, health professionals, practitioners, commissioners, academics and researchers – and, most importantly, people living with dementia. It incorporates case studies, blogs, interactive short films and advice and guidance from across the health, care, dementia and music sectors.

The site is a hub for collaboration and connecting people in an easy-to-access-and-view format for all.

‘A clear and respected evidence base’

UK charity, Live Music Now, which provides live musical experiences for a diverse range of people, recently published its Live Music in Care report: Music benefits the whole care home and contributes to person-centred care, recommending that live music should be essential in all UK care homes.

Evan Dawson, Executive Director of Live Music Now, said:

‘The potential benefits of music to individuals and society are significant, underpinned by a clear and respected evidence base.’

According to Music for Dementia 2020:

‘Research shows that when used appropriately through a personalised approach, music can make the delivery of care more effective and efficient, enabling carers to have more time to create meaningful moments with the people they are caring for. Music enhances people’s experiences of using services and helps people living with dementia to be seen for who they are, beyond their dementia.

‘The whole experience of a care home changes when you introduce meaningful music programmes. As well as being enjoyable and mood enhancing, it can develop the skills and confidence of care professionals as part of their day-to-day, person-centred approach to care, support identity, relationships and community and add a valuable new resource to the care tool kit.

‘Music enables people living with dementia to be more than recipients of care, it enables them to contribute to their communities and explore their own creativity and musicality.’

‘For someone living with dementia, music can be the lifeline’

Grace Meadows, Programme Director for Music for Dementia 2020, said:

‘The website is a living, dynamic source of information. Working with all the music, dementia, care and health communities, this site will be all-encompassing and inclusive and we want to encourage people to share their work with us so we can be making people aware of what musical activities are available in their communities and supporting access to them.

‘For someone living with dementia, music can be the lifeline, the connector that stops them from being locked away in a lonely and isolated world. Music, in its many forms – recorded, live, participatory, interactive, therapy – has the power to transform lives.

‘There is some excellent work happening across the country – in people’s homes, the community, care settings, hospitals and hospices. However, this is not happening everywhere across the UK. This website is the major first step in helping to ensure that everyone living with dementia has access to the music that matters to them.’

‘Music helps to significantly minimise some of the symptoms of dementia’

Baroness Sally Greengross, International Longevity Centre UK, said:

‘ILC very much welcomes the Music for Dementia 2020 website, which responds directly to recommendations made by our Commission on Dementia and Music.

‘Analysis by the ILC, undertaken for the Commission, showed that music helps to significantly minimise some of the symptoms of dementia, such as agitation, and can help to tackle anxiety and depression. Moreover, evidence suggests that music helps us to reconnect with loved ones with dementia.

‘However, at present we know that too many people are missing out on the opportunity to engage in music-based activities. Bringing together learning and information about activities in this website will be a vital first step to widening access and opportunity for everyone.’

‘Music can enhance the quality of life for everyone who needs care’

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive, Care England, said:

‘Music can evoke memories, provide opportunities to share experiences and connect people to families, friends and other residents. Through shared memories and experiences, music can enhance the quality of life for everyone who needs care and support services.’

To visit the Music for Dementia 2020 website, please click here.


Header image: The Music for Dementia 2020 homepage

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