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Commission on Dementia and Music: Evening reception report launch

Thursday, 18th January 2018, House of Lords, Palace of Westminster, London

In July 2017 the ILC- UK, in partnership with the Utley Foundation, established the world’s first high level Commission to investigate the role of music in helping with the prevention, management, treatment and care for people with dementia. This ground-breaking report will be launched at the House of Lords during an evening reception on 18 January 2018.

This pioneering project assembled expert neuroscientists, music therapists, charities, start-ups and academics, including Professor Alistair Burns, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia, to serve as Commissioners to gather evidence on how music-based activities can change the lives of people living with dementia and their families. The report shows that music can increase communication and decrease anxiety, agitation and depression in dementia sufferers regardless of their gender, ethnicity or background.

The report has benefitted from the input and contributions from a wide variety of individuals across the music and dementia spaces. It establishes what we currently know about the impact of music on dementia as well as considering how our ageing society can benefit from this under-utilised therapeutic intervention.

To mark the launch of this leading report, the ILC and the Utley Foundation are hosting an evening reception in the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace, House of Lords. We are hoping to be joined by a senior Minister, as well as a celebrity guest, MPs, policy makers and journalists. We will be showing a short film on music and dementia as well as hearing a performance from the Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Singing for the Brain’ choir (a choir composed of people with dementia and their carers).

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive, ILC-UK said:

“Despite growing evidence of the value of music for people with dementia, we are not seeing enough being done to improve access to appropriate music-based activities. When talking about specialist music therapy, current availability only equates to roughly 30 seconds per week per person with dementia, meaning that very few individuals are benefitting from this valuable intervention”.

Sally Bowell, Research Fellow, ILC-UK said:

“Music should not just be considered a nice-to-have, or an ‘add-on’. Music has tangible, evidence-based benefits for people with dementia, such as helping to minimise the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, tackling depression and anxiety, and, importantly, helping to improve quality of life. We want to raise awareness of these important benefits and rally organisations and individuals alike to help champion access to music for people with dementia.”

Neil Utley, The Utley Foundation said:

“People with dementia often live in a silent world. Yet music can bring a person back to life. The ability to connect to music is an innate aspect of being human; having a diagnosis of dementia need not undermine this”.

To download the full report, please click here.

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