January 25th 2019

Members of Alzheimer’s Support’s day clubs in Wiltshire have become the face of a national campaign highlighting the importance of music for people living with dementia.

Photographs taken at the charity’s day clubs in Trowbridge, Devizes and Warminster feature extensively on a new website Music for Dementia 2020 and have been used on Classic FM’s website and social media. 

Music for Dementia 2020, run by the Utley Foundation, is the first website to bring together the music and dementia care sectors. It aims to be an information hub for advice, evidence-based research and expertise on why music is essential for people living with dementia. It also shows how to use music, in all its forms, in everyday situations, care homes and health care settings.

Grace Meadows, programme director at Music for Dementia, said: “For someone living with dementia, music can be the lifeline, the connector that stops them from being locked away in a lonely and isolated world. Music, whether recorded, live, interactive or as part of therapy, has the power to transform lives.

“When we walked into the Alzheimer’s Support’s Old Silk Works club in Warminster we were bowled over by the vast amount of musical activity available to club members. We loved the photographs that are taken by the charity’s Head of Day Care Grant Newton and are so thankful to all the individuals and families who agreed to let us use the images on the new site.”

Ron's story

Former paratrooper and railwayman Ronald Lane is one of the members featured on the sites.

His daughter Maria Noke said: "At home Dad is quite isolated in his dementia but when he goes to the club and gets involved in the music he is so much more engaged. You can tell how happy he is by the smiles in the photographs. We are chuffed his pictures have been chosen as it shows how much he is contributing and we want to spread the word about how music can help people.

"Music makes such a difference. It is wonderful to see how it opens him up and to see his smiles. At the Christmas party there was a band playing and we had a little dance. It was so special and will create a special memory for me when I thought there wouldn't be any more new Christmas memories.

"Since Dad started at Old Silk Works he has started singing in the car and I have learned more about his musical memories that I had never known before. It has brought us closer. The staff have given me tips about using soothing, familiar music to play at home."

Babs Harris, CEO of Alzheimer’s Support said: “We use music throughout our work, in our day clubs and Music for the Mind singing groups, and as we support people one to one. Even in our art groups we have music playing and every so often the whole room just joins in spontaneously. As well as being intensely personal and invaluable for reconnecting an individual with their own past, music helps to create common moments and shared bonds and that too is incredibly powerful.”

Find out about Music for the Mind, Alzheimer's Support weekly singing groups across Wiltshire.

Classic FM music for dementia

Making Music at Old Silk Works Club