The power of music to treat dementia has been further strengthened by a new survey.
In a collaboration between the charity Music for Dementia and keyboard manufacturer Casio, more than 100 dementia patients were enrolled in six months of music therapy.
Care homes were given specialist keyboards which allowed residents to play their favorite songs in the presence of a music therapist.
At the end of the six-month period, 79% of the music therapists reported that their patients showed improved memory and recall, and more than 70% saw reductions in anxiety and depression.
The survey is based on a number of recent scientific studies, including one published in The Lancet earlier this year.
It found that music had a clinically significant impact on reducing depression and other symptoms in nursing home residents suffering from dementia.
There are several reasons why music can be an effective treatment method.
Clare Barone, head of music therapy at Methodist Homes, said: “From a therapeutic perspective, music can touch emotions, unlock memories and the two really go hand in hand.
“So positive memories can only bring someone to life, reminiscence, positive well-being, engagement with something, meaningful activity, as we saw with Jill, playing the keyboard actually brought back memories of her children and playing in the past and the importance of it. song for her.”
Jill is an 82-year-old resident living with moderate mixed dementia.
Over the course of his treatment, he saw marked cognitive improvement, going from being able to recognize and whistle a familiar tune, to playing parts of it with keyboard assistive technology.
During a demo for Sky News, Jill played much of the piece before admitting with a wry smile: “I don’t know how the hell I did it.”
Grace Meadows, Campaign Manager for Music for Dementia, said: It’s innovative and creative initiatives like this that show how easy it can be for carers to make music part of good dementia care.
“We would like to see this program expanded across the country as a way of supporting carers to provide the best possible personalized care for people living with dementia.”
In April, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries backed a plan to create a ‘music commissioner’s power’ to promote the benefits of music in a range of health settings.
The political will, it seems, is there, if it can survive the imminent arrival of another new Conservative administration.
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