Music and drama are understood to have therapeutic and health benefits to individuals. We work with many people living with dementia to enrich their lives, recollect memories and engage with their loved ones and their present selves.
We work with a number of services and charities, such as Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Royal Hospital Chelsea and AgeUK and accept referrals through these partner organisations.
For more information on our Health & Wellbeing projects, please contact Inspire@operahollandpark.com.
Playlist for Life
Music is neurologically special. If your brain were to be scanned while you listened to your favourite music, the screen would light up like a fireworks display. Not just the auditory cortex, but areas involved in emotion and memory, language and decision-making, movement and reactions.
Even if dementia erodes one part of your brain, music can still reach those other parts to tap into emotions, memories and even abilities thought lost.
The results can be astonishing – and profoundly moving. People who cannot speak can sing. People who struggle to walk can dance. People who have withdrawn into themselves take an interest in others again.
At Playlist for Life, we teach skills to help family members and care staff find the right music for someone with dementia, and how to harness its effects. Playlist for Life has partnered with The Centre for Dementia Prevention at the University of Edinburgh to help further the research.
Psychologists have found that we lay down more memories between the ages of 10 to 25 than at any other time of life. So people can start by looking at what musical memories may be lurking in that “memory bump”. Once you have found the right music for an individual, research shows that listening for half an hour before difficult activities or times of stress should lead to a reduced need for psychotropic medication, reduced falls, and reduced stress and distress.
We recently visited a care home where a woman with severe dementia had been receiving a particular sedative 60 times every month. Since the introduction of a tailored playlist of music for her, she had not taken it at all, in 24 days.
Such music makes the job of caring easier and more rewarding. The very act of building a playlist brings carers closer to the individual they care for. And for families, listening can be a joyful experience that brings a loved one back for a while.
For more information on Playlist for Life, please contact Inspire@operahollandpark.com.