Music unlocks memories

I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped (or is helping) to raise the profile of dementia during Dementia Action Week (May 21-27).

Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 09:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 11:21 am

Anything which raises awareness of dementia must be applauded. It’s one of the biggest medical challenges that we face and it can be very isolating. People with dementia often live in a silent world, yet music can bring a person back to life.

Work that we’ve done at the Utley Foundation with the International Longevity Centre-UK has shown how music can alleviate symptoms, yet less than five per cent of the 16,000 care homes in the UK provide music as part of treatment.

We want to change this and are looking to appoint an ambassador to mobilise a task force to help create more access to music for people with dementia.

Research suggests that there is a ‘memory bump’ for music: people with dementia retain the clearest memories for the music they enjoyed between the ages of 10 and 30.

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We’ll be looking to help introduce musical initiatives which unlock these memories, like digital playlists, in a person’s home, running community choirs inclusive of people with dementia and bringing trained musicians into care settings.

We’ve got some way to go to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of people living with dementia, but thank you to those who have helped us champion the use of music therapy. It’s hugely appreciated.

Paul Hardcastle,

Musician and producer