This report by the Commission on Dementia and Music outlines the value and benefits of music for people with dementia and looks at the important next steps which can be taken to ensure that everyone with dementia is able to access music.
The report provides a unique exploration of the existing ecosystem of music for people with dementia and brings together for the first time a wide range of evidence, including academic papers and written and oral evidence. Site visits to observe projects in action were also fundamental in bringing to light the value of this field of work.
The evidence shows that music helps to minimise some of the symptoms of dementia, such as agitation, and can help to tackle anxiety and depression. The evidence also shows the considerable value of music in improving the quality of life for people with dementia, by helping to increase social interaction and decreasing stress hormones.
Meanwhile, evidence suggests that there is a ‘memory bump’ for music. It appears that people with dementia retain the clearest memories for music they enjoyed and heard between roughly the ages of 10 and 30. This valuable insight offers us the opportunity to connect with loved ones with dementia, by understanding what might be most meaningful for them.
The report calls on the music industry, the public sector, clinicians, charities, the technology sector and others to recognise and champion the right of people with dementia to have access to music. The report also aims to raise public awareness about how music can be used to bring about valuable benefits and improve the lives of people with dementia.