26 April 2016

A new initiative has been launched to support people with dementia in Northamptonshire through music.

The Music & Memory project involves creating personalised playlists for people affected by the disease which is made up of songs from their past that have special meaning for them.

Special songs

The project has been launched by Northamptonshire County Council, and Shire Lodge nursing home in Corby is one of the first homes in the county to sign up to the initiative.

Manager Sharon Goodall said: “We have applied for funding for iPod Shuffles for 13 residents so far. We asked their families about what music their loved ones enjoyed and have downloaded songs from their earlier years.

“Their faces when they listen to this music is absolutely amazing.”

County council cabinet member for adult social care Cllr Suresh Patel said: “Dementia is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s wellbeing. Losing your cherished memories is one of the most upsetting aspects of the disease, but music has been shown to have a dramatic impact on stimulating memory.

“This project involves creating a playlist of meaningful songs, such as a wedding song or a favourite tune from their younger years, which soothes the patient and brings to mind long-forgotten memories.

“Their loves ones and care workers say it is having a really positive effect on their wellbeing.”

Increasing numbers

There are around 7,700 people currently living with dementia in Northamptonshire and the number is set to increase.

To raise awareness of the Music & Memory project and the wider benefits of assistive technology for people with various illnesses and conditions, there will be a flash mob event in Northampton town centre on Saturday 7th May.

Performances will take place during the day at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm and people will be able to find out more about Music & Memory at the event.

Anyone who would like to find out more about assistive technology, including the Music & Memory project, visit our Gadgets and life line page.