The Taskforce, which brings together more than 60 leading representatives from across the music, dementia, health and social care sectors, will look at ways to bring music to people living with dementia who are not able to access music otherwise.
A wide body of research has demonstrated significant benefits of music for people living with dementia, including reducing anxiety, depression and agitation, providing an alternative channel of communication and connecting people with those around them through shared musical moments.
Music for Dementia 2020 is a campaign to make music available for everyone living with dementia by the end of 2020. To create this Taskforce, Music for Dementia 2020 have partnered with Live Music Now, a UK-wide charity that delivers interactive music programmes in care homes, hospitals and a range of community and healthcare settings.
Grace Meadows, Programme Director at Music for Dementia 2020 and a senior music therapist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to grow and enhance the excellent work already happening in many care settings across the UK. Through the taskforce we aim to significantly accelerate and expand the understanding of the benefits of weaving music through the care that is provided to people living with dementia. We believe having a strong network in place will help achieve this and as an outcome see more care settings making music a part of their core offer.”
Members of the Musical Care Taskforce will be brought together in a series of meetings over the next 18 months, working through their organisations to advance the objectives of the group. They are actively looking for other dementia groups from across the sector to join the taskforce and help shape the campaign as well as to contribute to activity for the next 18 months, with more information available via the campaign website http://www.musicfordementia2020.com/
Evan Dawson, Executive Director of Live Music Now said: “Engaging with music can significantly improve the lives of people living with dementia, as well as their carers and families. It doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive, but it does need to be done well. By sharing these ideas and good practices, we aim to ‘demystify’ music – so that everyone can join in, and experience the medical and social benefits, and sheer joy of making great music together.”
Neil Utley, Founder and Trustee of The Utley Foundation, said: “Everyone in this group has a huge part to play and only by linking together will our efforts be maximised. Whether we are involved in changing the way music is distributed, helping people create playlists or delivering therapy, we are part of the same national programme. A programme that can, and will, transform lives.”
The Music for Dementia 2020 campaign is supported by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Music for Dementia 2020 ambassador and BBC Radio presenter and host of Desert Island Discs, Lauren Laverne.
The campaign was launched in January 2019 following research by specialist think tank The International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK) and The Utley Foundation, which outlined the need for better public awareness around the power of music for people living with dementia.
Douglas Noble, Strategic Director for Live Music Now, said: “We are starting from the position, based on the report from the International Longevity Centre-UK’s Commission and LMN’s own “Live Music in Care” report that there are many benefits to people living with dementia from engaging with music. We want to use this taskforce to make sure all dementia care settings make music part of the care they offer.”