Study shows music can reduce depressive symptoms in over 50% of dementia patients

Music For Dementia and the National Academy for Social Prescribing launch four musical therapy projects in UK dementia care homes following research showing the huge benefits of choir-based therapy.

Music for Dementia and the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) are setting up four musical therapy projects in UK dementia care homes. The initiatives follow research that shows music can help reduce depressive symptoms in people with dementia.

A 2016 study found that 54 per cent of participants experienced a reduction in depressive symptoms with choir-based music therapy. In addition, the quality of life score rose by 57 per cent. According to another study, Music therapy can also drastically improve speech content and eloquence in 20 dementia pateints.

Four music therapy projects have received funding thanks to support from Music for Dementia, the NASP and the public. The NASP contributed £100,000, while the public donated £12,000 to make music therapy accessible to more dementia patients across the UK.

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Recipients of the funding include Musica Music and Wellbeing IC, an organisation offering music workshops for people living with dementia, plus training for carers. The Derbyshire Stroke and Neuro Therapy Centre, Lowestoft’s The Seagull Theatre and Saffron Hall Trust will also receive funding.

Grace Meadows, Music for Dementia campaign director, said (via Care Home Professional): “It is wonderful to be able to work closely with NASP on this project and to be offering a second round of grants this year to musical activities working with people with dementia. As an expert grant maker in this field, The Utley Foundation, who back the Music for Dementia campaign, have been able to move swiftly to ensure that the money is channelled into communities where this funding can make a real impact and benefit individuals and carers directly.

“We hope this partnership paves the way for further ventures in the future, enabling more people with dementia to access music and enjoy its many benefits through social prescribing.”

John Sharpe, who attends The Derbyshire Stroke & Neuro Therapy Centre, is among the many people who will benefit from the new projects.

John was diagnosed with dementia six years ago and said: “music is my memories. It makes me remember the bands I saw long ago, such as Queen at Earls Court in 1982 and Bowie in Manchester. I really enjoy talking to my friends here about music and bands, it’s so good to remember them together.”

Learn more about the initiatives and the work Music for Dementia is doing to support patients at musicfordementia.org.uk.

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