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The Healing Power Of Music

Transforming Lives During Alzheimer’s Awareness Week

It’s World Alzheimer’s Day and we are joining the conversation sharing stories of resilience, connection, and wellbeing.

Stories of people like Jean, an older lady living with vascular dementia, who found solace in the soothing power of music.


The Impact of Music: Transforming Care Environments

Jean's Story: A Remarkable Encounter with Music

Jean’s story is a testament to the incredible impact that music can have on individuals living with dementia. She would often call out in distress, searching for a connection with her loved ones. However, her story took a heartwarming turn when Mary (our Associate Musician) sat down beside her and offered the gift of music-making.

As Mary played, Jean’s cries of distress gradually softened. The calling out became less agitated, and moments of serenity emerged. What made this experience truly remarkable was the power of a shared voice. When Jean cried out, “God help me!” Mary transitioned the piece into the soothing melody of “Amazing Grace.” As Mary played, Jean began to join in. Singing the last line with clarity, bringing a smile to her face.

Mary played other hymns which provided a welcome distraction as the nurses administered Jean’s medication. A close friend of Jean’s visited, and joined in as they all sang “Amazing Grace” together. Jean mouthed the words along with them, relishing the moment of connection and joy.

The story of Jean is just one example of the profound impact of music on individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. As caregivers and healthcare professionals have observed, music can bring remarkable changes to care environments. 

Music offers the space for connection, it can create a communication without words, reaching neural pathways that fire subconsciously and can ignite memories once forgot.

"A long-standing patient has got great comfort from the music and singing. The patient who has dementia usually gives no eye contact and will just shout out and screw up her face. Today this patient has her eyes open, the most beautiful smile and is humming along to the music. We need more of this on the wards. Today our ward is so calm due to the music. Seeing the positive response by patients has brought a tear to my eye."
Nurse
University Hospital


Take Me As You Find Me: A Song by OPUS Music

In our quest to raise awareness on World Alzheimer’s Day,  we wanted to share our song “Take Me As You Find Me.” You can listen to it here. This song portrays the experiences and emotions of the response to our practice within dementia care. It reminds us of the importance of empathy and understanding.

"It really changes the atmosphere; while they're playing you don't hear all the coughing and beeping; it makes the patients more comfortable. We deal with lots of patients with dementia, and you often see them dancing to the music and playing along. You can learn a lot about a patient's history and find out more about them. It's so important when it comes to individualising care. How can you care for a patient holistically if you don't really know them?"
Nurse
University Hospital


OPUS Music's Commitment to Dementia Care

In addition to our musical contributions in health and care settings, here at OPUS Music we are making a meaningful impact in the community. Thanks to Arts Council Funding, we are running a series of workshops in Bolsover for families living with dementia. Our new team of community musicians are bringing music to families and facilitating music-making sessions that support their health and wellbeing. This initiative exemplifies the positive change that can be achieved through the healing power of music.

As we commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day, let us be inspired by stories like Jean’s, where the simple act of sharing music can bring comfort, connection, and joy to those living with dementia. Music is a powerful tool for transforming care environments and enhancing the quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s. Join us as we continue to explore the healing power of music and work towards a more inclusive and compassionate world for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

For more information on Alzheimer’s and the broader initiatives to support individuals with dementia, you can refer to the following resources:

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/world-alzheimers-day

https://www.alz.org/help-support/resources

https://www.alzheimers.gov/life-with-dementia/resources-caregivers

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-dementia-resources-for-professionals

Together, we can make a difference and create a more supportive and understanding society for those living with Alzheimer's and dementia.