AN ILKLEY dare home highlighted the impact of music therapy for residents living with dementia during open group session

MHA Glen Rosa care home, in Ilkley, held an open music therapy session to highlight the positive impact music therapy has on its residents who are living with dementia. The home offers music therapy as part on its ongoing care to help improve residents’ quality of life, even during the most advanced stages of the condition.

This event took place as part of MHA’s national My Moment of Joy campaign. MHA aims to make more people aware of the power music therapy has for alleviating symptoms such as agitation, depression and frustration, unlocking ‘lost’ memories and reconnecting with loved ones. Music therapy can help to lift the fog which dementia creates and improve the quality of life for individuals, as well as helping with ongoing care.

The open session kicked off with a presentation from the home’s qualified music therapist, Ella Cross, who spoke in-detail about how music therapy works, the scientific data behind it and how it is person-centred so that every one-to-one session is tailored to the individual’s needs.

The residents then joined the music therapist along with family members, staff and guests from the local community in a room where they all felt safe and comfortable, ready for the group music therapy session to begin.

Music therapists will use group sessions to help identify residents whom they believe would benefit from the one-to-one sessions as these have the most benefit for someone living with dementia due to being person-centred. Feedback from an individual session is given to care staff so they can use this on a day-to-day basis, such as a piece of music which has a calming effect.

Soon after the group session begun, residents were joining in – those that rarely speak were soon singing along and others were shaking their maracas or tambourines to the beat. While some reactions are much harder to see – they may, for example, just involve the tapping of a foot or a smile but all responses have an extremely powerful effect on residents, relatives and carers.

Music Therapist, Ella Cross said: “Being a music therapist at MHA and working with people who have dementia is a little like being a detective at first – finding out who someone was, who they are now, what they did in life and what made them happy. We need to gather all of this information to find out what kind of music they would respond to best. Used in the right way, music can access a person, their memories and their spirit – even when words alone cannot. Music therapy provides true, unique moments of joy.”

Home Manager, Sue Garvey, added: “Glen Rosa are committed to providing music therapy for our residents living with dementia to enhance their well-being, as well as their overall quality of life. Having the ability to reach residents through music has an evident effect and we are proud to be able to provide that opportunity.”