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GUEST COLUMN: Create memories through music this Christmas

Grace Meadows headshot II

Music for Dementia Campaign Director, Grace Meadows (pictured), offers tips on how music can help people living with dementia and their families over the festive period.

Music can help change moods, make new memories, create conversation and prompt exercise and movement. Christmas is often an emotive time of the year, and it’s a time we very much associate with music.

More than 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia – and it is estimated that there will be 1.14m people living with dementia in the UK by 2025.

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Christmas is about being together but sometimes being together when someone has dementia can be difficult. Using music to move to – be that dancing, chair dancing, an affectionate touch – can help lighten the mood, create a festive atmosphere, provide a distraction, help focus someone and express a way of being together physically that helps comfort, reassure and create connections in the hear and now.

Grace said: “Christmas is very much a time we associate with music. 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. Familiar tunes can help people living with dementia and their families be with those emotions and manage the associated behaviours.”

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

Grace 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.

Grace said: “Use music to create conversations and stories. It might be a conversation about nativity plays from yesteryear, carol singing with friends, Christmas parties that have gone down in history or family Christmas adventures – the stories will have a musical connection.

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

 

Tags : Best practiceDementia CareInnovationMusic for dementia
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The author Lee Peart

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