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Commission to explore effects of music therapy on dementia patients speech

Thursday 29th June 2017
Music therapy can complement speech therapy for dementia patients. Image: Artfully79 via iStock
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Music therapy is an increasingly popular area of study, with new research planned to explore the full extent of the benefits it can have for dementia patients, including how it can help to aid their speech.

Decline in speech function often makes it a challenge for people living with dementia to communicate and can leave them feeling frustrated and isolated.

However, some believe that singing or finding another way to express themselves through noise as part of music therapy could be used alongside more traditional speech therapy to prevent communication abilities from fading completely.

Music can also help to bring about a sense of nostalgia for older people, providing them with some comfort and encouraging them to sing along or talk about the memories stirred up.

To find out more about the benefits of music therapy for dementia patients' speech, movement and general wellbeing, a new commission is being established next month, which will be led by Alexia Quin, founder and director of Music as Therapy International.

Music as Therapy International primarily trains speech therapists and other healthcare workers in music therapy techniques, while also providing them with resources and ongoing support to ensure their patients are receiving the best possible care for their individual needs.

The new commission is being launched by the International Longevity Centre UK thinktank, with the first meeting set to take place at the House of Lords on Wednesday July 12th.

Ms Quin stated: "Through our work across four continents, we have seen first hand how music makes a difference to the lives of vulnerable people and change the way people care for them.

"I believe this commission will highlight what we already know from our experience working with people living with dementia; that music can help change the way we care in the UK too."

Statistics from the Alzheimer's Society predict that there will be more than one million people diagnosed with dementia by 2025, so it is important that new areas of therapy and ways of helping these patients to communicate are explored.

Written by Martin Lambert

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