Music for dementia
Music for Dementia was founded in October 2018 in response to the discovery that there was a new therapy available to help mitigate the effects of alzheimers disease and other dementias and brain conditions. Although new to NZ, this therapy has been used to great effect in the US and around the world to improve the quality of life of people living with dementia and of those who care for them.
Known as Personalised Music Therapy, this technique builds upon the observation that music, particularly from their early years, can reignite memories and provide solace and security for people living with the complex and bewildering effects of Dementia. While results differ widely, in some cases they can be spectacular - especially where people who have been uncommunicative for years can emerge and engage with family and friends once again.
Since its inception, Music for Dementia has provided this therapy to over 50 people, both in the community (frequently referred by Alzheimers Otago) and in Rest Homes, mostly in the Dunedin area but also as far away as Invercargill, Queenstown, Oamaru and Wellington. Clients are interviewed and a music playlist is created specifically for them and loaded onto an integrated headset which should be used for at least an hour a day for best results. As a Charitable Trust, Music for Dementia offers its services free of charge to remove any financial obstacles to the uptake of this proven and highly effective therapy.
The Organisation plans to expand its efforts further afield in the near future and welcomes approaches from anyone seeking to set up one of the many centres across the country needed to enable this therapy to become more widely disseminated.