The campaign seeks nationwide support to help people with dementia find music related events and services in their area

  • Music for Dementia is launching the first ever Musical Map for Dementia. Its aim is to provide those affected by the condition information on music- based events and services in their area.
  • Music has a wide range of benefits for people living with dementia and yet many people with dementia and their carers do not know where or how to access them.
  • The campaign is calling on individuals and organisations such as choirs, music groups, music therapists from across the country to come forward and submit their details to the map to help make life easier for people with dementia and to give back the gift of music.

Thursday 26 September 2019: London, UK. As part of the Music for Dementia Campaign of making music more accessible for people living with dementia, the organisation is launching a Musical Map for Dementia. The map will highlight nationwide dementia-friendly musical activities and services.

The Campaign has been working collaboratively with BBC Music Day to highlight the power music can and does have for people living with dementia, as well as their families and carers. It is calling upon the 70 organisations involved with Music Day, and all the other many practitioners nationwide to come forward and submit their details via in order to reveal the many services in existence across the UK.

Grace Meadows, Programme Director at Music for Dementia and a senior music therapist said: “Music for people living with dementia isn’t a nicety, it’s a necessity. I’ve witnessed first-hand the power of music in helping transform people’s lives. In every corner of the country there are talented people delivering musical services that can alleviate the often-distressing symptoms of dementia, such as agitation, apathy and anxiety but it’s vital people know where they are and how to access them.”

Research has shown music provides a wide range of emotional, health and wellbeing benefits and in June 2019 The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recognised the importance of music therapy in its guidance on quality standards for dementia care. However, a report for the Campaign from the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) found that while there are pockets of excellent community-based dementia-friendly music offerings, provision is disparate and people with dementia and their families and carers are not clear on how or where to go to find out about services.

Neil Utley, Founder and Trustee of The Utley Foundation, said: “Our Musical Map for Dementia will open up a whole new world for people living with dementia and those who care for them. People affected by dementia and their carers can experience social isolation and loneliness. We know from research that there are fantastic people out there already providing valuable music-based events and services. We are just asking them to tell us where they are and what they are doing so we can help promote their services to the people that need them.”
Music for Dementia is leading the way to remedy this by offering a Musical Map for Dementia, which is free to access for all.

If you run any form of dementia-friendly music service or are aware of one in your local area please visit and fill out the online form.

Examples of events already on the map include a dementia friendly performance of La Bohème by Opera North taking place on October 24th. This performance is tailored for people living with dementia and their families or carers, so that they can enjoy a live performance in an environment that is comfortable and supportive.

Alice Gilmour, Access Officer for Opera North, said “At Opera North, we’re committed to breaking down any barrier which prevents someone from experiencing opera. We are particularly keen to hold a dementia friendly performance with so many people and their families affected by the condition and the limitations it can place on their lives. As one of the best-known and most popular operas with a score which many will recognise, La bohème felt like the perfect work for us to offer in a dementia friendly format. We look forward to making it a special experience for everyone involved.”

Another listed event is a regular Dementia Disco for people living with dementia and their carers in Stockport. The Dementia Disco is a place to come and enjoy favourite music and maybe even have a dance. They encourage people to get involved with choosing the music to ensure all tastes are covered, from rock n roll to disco – there’s even a free Hot Pot available at the event!

Notes for Editors

Research on Dementia and Music

There are an estimated 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. By 2040, the number of people with the condition is expected to double.

The UK Government has set an objective for England to be a world leader in fighting dementia and has committed to improving diagnosis, care and support, and research (The Challenge of Dementia 2020). The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, also commits the NHS in England to continuing to improve the care provided to people with dementia and their carers.
There is a large and growing evidence base demonstrating that music has a wide range of benefits for people with dementia. Including but not exclusively:

* Minimising some of the behaviour and psychological symptoms of dementia: interventions have the potential to help minimise BPSD, including agitation, abnormal vocalisation and aggression.
* Tackling anxiety and depression: interventions could help to reduce anxiety and depression amongst people with dementia. The impact of music therapy on anxiety and depression could potentially be lasting.
*Retaining speech and language: interventions have the potential to improve the retention of speech and language for people with dementia.
*Enhancing quality of life: interventions can help to facilitate increased social interaction or ‘flow’, improve well-being, decrease stress hormones and enhance the quality of life of people with dementia. *Impact on caregivers: improvements in caregiving after music-related training are reported by care-givers, families, service providers and music therapists – engaging carers in music-based interventions can help them to better understand residents.
*Palliative and end of life care: music therapy in end of life care can help to minimise anxiety and discomfort.

About Music for Dementia 2020

Music for Dementia 2020 is a national campaign to help make music available for everyone living for dementia. We believe everyone living with dementia has the right to music as part of their dementia care. To make that a reality, we are working with stakeholders from across music, health, social care and dementia to make music a part of dementia care.

About The Utley Foundation

The Utley Foundation was founded in 2014 by Neil and Nicky Utley. The Foundation exists to advance social causes and to act as a catalyst for greater funding and wider action for the causes it supports. Music is a personal passion of the founders and trustees and underpins many of the key funding areas of interest to the foundation. The trust has other charitable objectives including Armed Forces Veterans, Children and Overseas Aid.

About The ILC-UK Report

The ILC-UK conducted a sector wide commission into music and dementia across the UK, funded by The Utley Foundation which led into Music for Dementia 2020 Campaign. It brought together the views of over 1,500 senior academics, politicians, researchers, practitioners and those affected by dementia. The findings of the report, launched at The House of Lords in 2018, strengthened the case for bringing music and dementia further into the public forum.