According to Age UK, the number of people in the UK with dementia is predicted to be in excess of one million by the year 2021 and while there are no long-term cures, there are ways to help alleviate symptoms.
The use of music is a popular method in dementia care.
The auditory system of the brain is the first to fully function at just 16 weeks so we are musically receptive long before anything else. In dementia-type breakdown of memory it can be a case of first in, last out with regards music, which is why it can be such a helpful tool in the later stages.
No matter the genre, music can sooth, stimulate and bring to mind some long forgotten memories.
Singing can also reach parts of the brain in ways other forms of communication cannot.
It is also a great way for dementia patients to share emotions with carers. Listening to music can often lead to dancing and hugging, bringing a sense of security.
Using music in dementia care is a method our carers often use with our own service users. One service user that we currently support loves to sing and enjoys musicals. We encourage this and take her to church choir music sessions, watch DVDs of old musicals that she chooses and if she wishes, our carers will put on the radio for her to listen to.