Support Line: 01865 410 210

Support Line:
01865 410 210

Music, the arts, and dementia

More and more, it is recognised that people living with dementia are able to carry on using the skills they have in areas such as making music, visual art (like painting) and craft making, for far longer than it might once have been assumed. Arts-based groups allow people with dementia to tap into the skills they have and participate in group activity in a way that might otherwise be difficult. This page looks at the benefits of the arts for dementia and how to find a group near you.

The benefits of music

Musical therapies and activities are strongly associated with helping to improve a person’s sense of wellbeing.  It has also been linked to helping reduce distress (e.g. often seen if a person is experiencing emotions like sadness or anger).  This is believed to be because musical memory is stored in many different places in the brain and so, even if a person can’t remember the name of a song, a well-known melody, or long-practised lyrics (e.g. songs from childhood) appears to trigger powerful memory recall.  

It is also an activity that can help to support people living with advanced dementia.  Hearing a familiar tune, or being able to tap in time to a song, is thought to help strengthen a person’s sense of comfort and security.  For people who are caring for someone who may no longer be able to communicate by talking, sharing a connection through music can be extremely uplifting. 

The benefits of reminiscence

Themed reminiscence (e.g. the use of memorabilia or, conversations about events that are important to people, such as family holidays as children etc.) has also been found to help people diagnosed with dementia. Reminiscence helps someone to instinctively feel able to take part, rather than being afraid that they will make a mistake or worry that they will have forgotten what to do. 

Where can I find out more?  There are a wide range of friendly and accessible groups across Oxfordshire that regularly run organised activities around music and the arts.  Many are free to attend but may ask for a small contribution to cover the cost of refreshments. Speak to your Dementia Adviser to find out what is in your local area.

Age of Creativity

The Age of Creativity is a network that champions the arts, culture, and creativity for older people. They produce fantastic resources that reduce barriers and make art accessible for all ages.

Why take part?

It can be increasingly difficult to take part in mainstream artistic activities as you age. These activities are not built with the older generation in mind. Age of Creativity focuses on delivering accessible participation in creative and cultural activities for those who may otherwise struggle to.

The network is lead by, with, and for, older people, so you can be sure that it’s built with you in mind.

How it can help you

“Creativity comes to all of us at different times, but always at the right time!”

Creative work is said to calm, settle, or even regain control of our minds. This can be especially important for those living with dementia. Art can be an escape, where we don’t have to worry about remembering the shopping list or where we put our keys. Instead, we can harness the power of our creative minds, translating our imagination into reality.

The Age of Creativity website is often updated with new projects, intitiatives and infromation regarding ageing and the arts.

Age of Creativity, in partnership with older people across oxfordshire, have created a Challenge Pack with 31 creative ideas and prompts.

Further Resources

Click on the button below to be taken to our directory category specifically for music and reminiscence resources. 

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