Two musicians from Bristol have developed an app to help people living with dementia after experiencing the effects of the illness first-hand.
Mark Smulian and Stewart Redpath have created the Lydian MindHarp, a tool which allows non- musicians to create their own music.
The MindHarp has been shown to help people with dementia engage with music and interact with people around them, having a long-lasting effect on their emotional well-being.
Producer and bass player Mark, who has created Platinum and Gold albums for internationally-renowned artists, said: “We are excited by the MindHarp as we know it can enrich lives for both those affected by the condition. When people can make their own music, it brings them into the present moment. The impact on the mind is much stronger than simply listening to music.”
Mark has seen music help his own father who had Alzheimer’s, he said: “We played my dad’s favourite music and saw him become more animated. He started talking when he heard the music, which was fascinating to watch.”
Stewart and Mark have been working on the MindHarp for nearly four years and visited the Peggy Dodd Day Centre, which supports people with memory loss, on a voluntary basis for seven months to develop the app with both carers and clients.
A report from the Commission into Dementia and Music, in partnership with independent think tank, the International Longevity Centre (ILC), has found evidence that music therapy also helps reduce behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, such as agitation, depression, delusions and aggression.