The Manchester Orchestra Helping Unlock Memories in Those with Dementia Through Music

Live music via Zoom is supporting and empowering residents with dementia across Greater Manchester.

By Alex Watson | 13 November 2020

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This week, a moving video of an elderly lady with Alzheimer’s reenacts her Swan Lake dance after having headphones plugged in and hearing the music for the first time in years.

The video went viral across the world showing the incredible power music has and holds of people hearts and minds without even knowing. 

Music, in this sense, can unlock memories, clear up the grey matter and help those with dementia and Alzheimers communicate in ways they might not have been able to before.

Music in Mind is a groundbreaking initiative taking place across Greater Manchester helping care home residents with dementia through the power of music.

Due to the lockdown, the sessions have gone remote and with the help of funding from a government grant the orchestra involved can continue this work to provide relief for those living with dementia during the Covid-19 crisis.

The music therapy is delivered by a specialist team of musicians and resident music therapists. It encourages and empowers those with dementia to express themselves and communicate with others. The team call it a ‘conversation without words’.

Weekly Zoom calls are currently taking place with a Camerata musician, therapist and care home staff.

Camerata musicians and experts have created and prepared a whole range of online resources each care home can get access to that helps with how to deliver the dementia programme.

The £50,000 grant has made it possible for eight Manchester Camerata musicians and practitioners to create the digital training resource and musical toolkit.

Currently, Pemberton Fold in Eccles, Cleggsworth House in Littleborough, The Willows in Rochdale, The Peele in Wythenshawe, Seymore Care Home in Clayton, Acacia Lodge in New Moston and Darley Court in Bolton are all taking part in the Music in Mind: Remote project.

If you’ve not seen the video of the Swan Lake lady, watch it here. Grab the tissues though.