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Responding to music

Responding to music

Music as a language is a very powerful medium to both enhance communication, promote meaningful activity and individuality for those who are living with dementia.

Within the field of dementia care individuality and person centred care are the principles which are at the heart of good practice. These principles alongside celebrating what the person with dementia can do in terms of communication and meaningful activity forms the basis behind the Respond to Music project.

Age NI offers a music programme to older people living with dementia who attend day centres or live in residential homes.

The aim of the project is to enable older people with dementia to take control in a music session, to feel a sense of achievement and to have fun. Practically this involves offering instruments, song and dance from many genres and eras that are individually tailored for the person.

Staff, family carers are also given training on how best to use music to support the person with dementia. They receive training and practical advice and tips on how to use music purposefully and for enjoyment.

As a result of the impact of the programme, and the powerful messages conveyed in a music session, a training video for staff and carers has been produced to demonstrate the effects and responses to music by the person with dementia. The video strongly emphasises the importance of one-to-one work in dementia care as well as celebrating the individuality of the person who is participating.

Further information

For more information about the Respond to Music project, contact:

Maria Mullan
Dementia Programme Development Manager
t: 028 9024 5729 (reception)
m: 07803 316646


Last updated: Jul 22 2018

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