Rose Widlake, Wales Development Officer for Music in Hospitals

Charity wants to use music to help people with dementia

14 February 2017

A Cardiff charity says the Welsh Government should add live music to its new dementia plan.

This follows the Welsh Government’s launch of a Dementia Strategy Action Plan (DSAP) to deal with “inequalities experienced by people with dementia”.

Music in Hospitals organises concerts for older patients and care home residents featuring songs from their youth. It says the Welsh Government needs to value live performances as much as traditional dementia treatments.

Rose Widlake, Development Officer for Music in Hospitals, says that for dementia sufferers “musical memory is one of the last things to go.” She also says that live performances help to “unlock” dementia patients “in a way that medicine and prescribed treatments don’t”.

Miss Widlake also says while live music is “not a front line service”, anyone who visits a care home or hospital “would see that it’s vital”.

She says the performances, which encourage the audience to sing along, give patients a chance to interact with one another.

“Just because they have dementia, it doesn’t mean they don’t have interests like music and the arts.”

Speaking at the launch last month, Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: “No two people with dementia, or those that support them, will have identical needs.”

He also spoke about his aims for the plan, saying it will consider “all the ways in which we can affect people’s experience of living with dementia”.

The Welsh Government says public consultation for the DSAP is still open so there is time for groups to respond to it. The Government also says it cannot comment on the Action Plan while the consultation is still open.

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