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New Commission on Dementia and Music can help change the way we care

Photograph Credit: Music as Therapy International

A new Commission into the use of music in the treatment and care of those living with dementia has the potential to change the way we care, says the Director of an international charity.

Alexia Quin is the Founder and Director of Music as Therapy International, an award-winning charity with over 20 years experience working with care staff in the UK and around the world. Their unique approach sees them train care staff to use simple music therapy techniques and musical activities, providing them with resources and professional support to make sustainable change.

Alexia, who is also a registered music therapist, said, “We believe passionately in the power of music to make the most of people’s potential. 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.”

The Commission is being launched by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC) and will begin on 12 July 2017 at the House of Lords, Westminster. The ILC is a leading think tank dedicated to addressing the challenges and opportunities of ageing and demographic change. The Commission, for which Alexia Quin has been invited to sit as a Commissioner, comes amid calls to minimise the use of antipsychotic medication in the treatment of those with dementia.

According to figures from the Alzheimer’s Society, around 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK today. With an ageing national population, this number is set to rise to over one million by 2025. There is currently no cure for dementia.

With figures of this magnitude, Alexia believes the Commission is not only timely but also extremely relevant. “With an ageing population and cases of dementia on the rise, we need to be looking at every possible way to improve care for people living with dementia,” she said.

“There is a wealth of research which shows the genuine difference music therapy can make to people with dementia, both regarding the quality of life and reducing reliance on medication.”

Alexia added: “This Commission is an exciting opportunity to explore music’s potential as a treatment for dementia. There is so much more we could be doing.”

In 2016 Music as Therapy International launched ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ – a UK programme of projects to strengthen care in the UK, with dementia one of their areas of focus. As part of this continued programme, the charity welcomes approaches from care settings interested in receiving a project to train staff in the use of music as therapy.

For more information about Music as Therapy International and their UK work, please visit www.musicastherapy.org.

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