Let’s play the music and dance
Larchfield House – Maidenhead are ambassadors for Purple Dementia www.purpleangel-global.com and in partnership with them, ran a trial to understand how music can play an important part in improving individuals lives that are living with Dementia.
The rationale was to introduce music in a person-centered way to influence and improve behavior trends. Little did we really understand the impact this was going to have. We generally have music playing in public spaces and it is integral in our monthly activities programs with residents really engaging with the interaction of song and dance.
With our connection with Purple Dementia we embarked on the journey to supply MP3 players loaded with music personal to the individual’s favorites, the families got involved in helping us select those songs that had meaning and held those special memories to them.
Here is some of the incredible feedback (from families and staff):
- Before giving the Mp3 player to Mr. X he already had a love of music, however since having the Mp3 he has been able to enjoy his music in private and shut out any other distractions, he does have Dementia and at times would display agitation particularly in the evenings, however when he is given his Mp3 player he would completely change and will sit singing to the music and smiling. Fantastic idea and has been an eye-opener for how music can help people with dementia and also their carers because after he has listened to it his mood is very calm.
- Before giving Mrs. Y the Mp3 player she loved musicals on the television, she was not eating and drinking particularly well, the Mp3 player was introduced at meal times to see if it had an effect, which it did. The Mp3 player would be played whilst she ate and she began eating better and taking fluids well, thus keeping her weight stable. Brilliant help!
- Mr. W had become very withdrawn with low mood and liked to spend time in his room which put him at great risk of social isolation, we gave him his MP3 player and he very much enjoyed listening to music he grew up with. It became a wonderful activity whereby staff were able to sit with him and ask him about the music he liked and what memories he had of them. He then became happier and associated the Mp3 with social time.
- Mr. XY also has dementia, he is Italian and loves all opera but has a particular love for Italian opera, when given his Mp3 particularly if he is unhappy or low mood he will instantly begin singing at the top of his voice to the opera and staff love listening to his voice, he is very good! The Mp3 is regularly used if staff see his mood dip.
- Mr Z loves his Mp3 and will listen intently, he doesn’t quite understand that other people can’t hear the music playing into his ears through the headset, but will dance regardless and invites staff to join him. It is a joy to watch as he is a wheelchair user and this doesn’t stop him.
If you would like more details on how the program works and the unbelievable results please contact Kelly at Larchfield House by emailing her at