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UK to get first music therapy centre of excellence for people living with dementia

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Published Time: 11.05.2024 - 05:40:44 Modified Time: 11.05.2024 - 05:40:44

The long-term goal of the project is to use the knowledge built up over the next three years to analyse how music therapy can reduce the need for health and care services

The long-term goal of the project is to use the knowledge built up over the next three years to analyse how music therapy can reduce the need for health and care services.

Chief North of England correspondent @GregMilamSky

Saturday 11 May 2024 02:24, UK

Greater Manchester is to become the UK's first centre of excellence for music therapy for dementiain a bid to establish if the treatment can ease pressure on the NHS.

More than £1m of funding has been committed to the project to offer more musical support to people living with dementia across all of Greater Manchester.

There are more than 940,000 people in the UK who have dementia with one in 11 people over-65 being most affected.

The care of people living with dementia in the UK costs more than £34bn each year, with the Alzheimer's Society saying that by 2040, 1.6 million people in the UK will have dementia.

The long-term goal of the project is to use the knowledge built up over the next three years to analyse how music therapy can reduce the need for health and care services.

Sue Clarke, the Alzheimer's Society's regional manager for services in the North West, said: "This is something we've got to think about really differently. This keeps people well and at home and this keeps people out of the health and social care system.

"It's about being part of something that will enable people to stay socially active, stay engaged and for them not to end up going into long-term care which is going to support the social care system."

The project was launched at a music cafe hosted by Manchester Camerata, which runs weekly Music in Mind sessions at The Monastery in Gorton, Greater Manchester.

Beryl Roczniak and her daughters attend each week. "For people my age, it's something that keeps you going," Ms Roczniak said.

Her daughter Irenka Roczniak-Harding said it has been transformative: "You can see how uplifting it is for her, and even to her grandchildren who come now and again."

Sonia Roczniak-Gulzar, her other daughter, added: "We've had some challenging times, over the last 18 months but we've managed to keep her out of hospital and she's coming every week apart from maybe one or two, when she's been unwell and she misses it."

Amina Hussain is the principal flute player with Manchester Camerata and also works as the charity's resident music therapist.

She said: "We have so many magic moments in sessions that are maybe not immediately noticeable to an outside eye, but some of those really subtle changes in someone when you have an interaction with them is just gorgeous.

"It's one of the most joyous things any of us have ever experienced. It's really changed how we view music and what it can do for people."

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Danny Docherty has vascular dementia and attends the sessions with his wife Sue and two carers. Each week he performs the Irish classic Danny Boy accompanied by the pianist and remembers all of the words.

"When you come here you feel more settled," he said.

His wife Sue added: "I think music is fabulous, it takes a lot of things away and you're here in this moment. You want to sprinkle something, and it stays there forever."

Among those committing funding and supporting the project is Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham who revealed his own music fan father has recently moved into care having been diagnosed with dementia.


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He said: "Greater Manchester is a place that has always understood the power of music.

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