Christmas campaign uses music to help dementia patients and their families

Familiar tunes are being used to aid dementia patients and their families affected by the condition as part of a Christmas campaign.

The Music for Dementia programme can help moods, make new memories, create conversation and prompt exercise and movement among sufferers and carers ahead of the festive season.

More than 850,000 people in the UK are fighting dementia – that’s one in 14 people aged 65 and above, and one in six people over 80. Campaign director Grace Meadows said there were several ways that music can help patients.

She said: "Christmas is very much a time we associate with music. It can be a very emotive time of year; for many a joyful and celebratory time of year where music can bring us all together and for others, a somewhat challenging time that doesn’t always hold happy memories."

"Music can not only help us be with those emotions, but also help us manage those emotions and associated behaviours."

Listening, singing and dancing to music enables musical conversations to happen, enabling people to share and express feelings and emotions beyond words.

She added: "It can help when someone is feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated; calming, soothing, familiar music and sounds can settle someone, putting them at ease. If they’re distracted or unable to concentrate, music can be a way to focus attention. A singalong to familiar carols If someone is agitated or repeating questions, listening to or singing along to calming Christmas carols and songs can help reduce their anxiety and help move someone on from repeating the same question."

Music can be a way of bringing family and friends together during the festive season creating memories that will be remembered by family and friends for Christmases to come.