Music and Dementia

Every week at Among Friends, we have volunteers come to share their musical talents with our participants who engage in singing along to old favorites, accompanying the music with tambourines or maracas, or quietly listening.

A new British study confirms that music is an important tool in living with dementia.  The Guardian (18 Jan. 2018) reports that “The study, which compiled existing evidence as well as talking to experts, found music can help people with dementia recall information and reduce symptoms such as anxiety, agitation and aggression.”

Dr Laura Phipps, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “NHS guidelines suggest music therapy as a possible way to help people with dementia deal with complex behavioural symptoms. As more studies start to explore the benefits of music in dementia, this report highlights the importance of developing robust and practical approaches to explore the benefits and cost-effectiveness of music interventions, which are often delivered in very diverse and tailored ways.

“It is vital to explore all avenues to improve the lives of people with dementia, as well as ensuring that they can benefit from such developments, and research has an important role to play here.”

Kathryn Smith, the director of operations at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Historically, there hasn’t been much research into how music can help people with dementia. It is great, therefore, to see the potential of the creative arts being tapped into by researchers. This could really help us to understand any benefits of music for people with dementia and other important points, such as how people can best access music.”

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