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Music Making Sparks Joy for Dementia Residents

Residents at a dementia care home in Plymouth have been enthusiastically singing along with their favourite songs during a specially arranged pre-Easter visit by Plymouth Music Makers.

Sarah McCaffrey, deputy manager of Butterfly Lodge in St Budeaux, said: “Our residents react so joyfully when tunes they know and love start playing – it’s really lovely to see.

“Everyone at Butterfly Lodge loves Katy who leads Music Makers, because she makes her sessions so inclusive and everyone can join in, whether that is listening to the music, getting up to dance, swirling scarfs or shaking maracas.

“We also get to have a singalong to some of our favourite songs: Que Será, Será and Sweet Caroline sparked a particularly rousing response this time.

“Music is very important to many people living with dementia – we find that even residents who don’t speak any more will join in with songs they know and can remember all the words.

“At a session like this it’s immediately obvious what a powerful trigger music is for making them happy, and often it also allows them to connect with the people around them in a way they don’t usually do.”

According to Age UK, the power of music, especially singing, to unlock memories and kickstart the grey matter seems to reach parts of the brains of people living with dementia in ways other forms of communication cannot.

Research studies have shown music can help reduce heart rate and blood pressure, relieve muscle tension, help people manage pain, and can also trigger endorphins, the feel-good hormone, which may ease depression, anxiety and agitation.

The Music Makers session was part of a varied programme of activities organised by Butterfly Lodge, which is part of award-winning dementia care group Camelot Care. The group has other homes in Wellington and Bridgwater in Somerset. Further information at