Enhancing and enriching care with music

Music plays a role in care to support and improve health and wellbeing for everyone, including those living with dementia

From listening to music to engaging in music therapy, music supports all aspects of health: psychological, physical, cognitive, mental health and social wellbeing
Group of people
The Challenge

Raising awareness and accessibility to music care


Lack of understanding about how music can support health and wellbeing and the role it plays in good health and social care


All family carers, health and social care practitioners, and musicians, should have access to training in order to make music a part of care 


Organisations that provide music care need to be supported so that everyone who could benefit is able to access musical services as part of their care and benefit from this low-cost and effective health intervention
The Benefits

Music can have a significant impact on people living with dementia

An elderly woman dances

People Living with dementia

  • Improved quality of life 
  • Management of the symptoms of dementia
  • Relationships are supported and maintained leading to a reduction in social isolation and loneliness
  • People living with dementia are able to reconnect with their sense of self and are seen for who they are, beyond their diagnosis

Families and Carers

  • Relationships are supported and maintained through musical moments of joy
  • Eases the burden of caring for someone as everyday tasks are made more manageable and enjoyable
  • Enables a more creative and holistic approach to care
Two people conversing, the younger with their arm wrapped around the elder
A man playing guitar

Performers and Musicians

  • Enhances and enriches performance skills
  • Provides another way of using musical skills and opportunity to share them with others
  • Make an immeasurable difference to the lives of those living with dementia
  • Create a wider impact in the local community through providing positive social experiences and opportunities for creative engagement

Communities and Society

  • Create more inclusive, dementia-friendly communities
  • Improve the wellbeing of those living with dementia
  • Support and nurture carers and families
Two people embrace

The Science

Research and evidence for music-based interventions

Personalised Music is Key

While music in general has many benefits to people living with dementia, music that holds meaning to a person is especially powerful as it can trigger memories and supports brain health and functioning

Listening to favourite music improves brain function in Alzheimer’s patients

Research carried out by the team at University of Toronto and Unity Health Toronto explored what happened when participants with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease listened to a curated playlist of autobiographically relevant, familiar music for one hour a day over the course of three weeks. Findings showed an improvement in memory performance, supporting the potential for personalised musical interventions for people with dementia
Read article

Personalised music for residents with dementia in an Australian rural aged-care setting

An Australian study showed that personalised music positively influenced residents’ behaviour and well-being; social interaction; and the workplace environment and culture. They found that a personalised music program is an effective, low-cost intervention to improve quality of life care of residents living with dementia and boost staff well-being, in low-resourced or rural aged-care settings
Read article

Music therapy reduces agitation and the need for medication

Music therapy has been proven to reduce agitation and the need for anti-psychotic medication for those with dementia

The Arts for Health & Wellbeing Report: Music therapy as an effective intervention for managing dementia

Research quoted in the ‘All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing Inquiry Report Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing’, highlighted music therapy as an effective intervention for managing dementia
Read article

Individualized Music Program is Associated with Improved Outcomes for U.S. Nursing Home Residents with Dementia

Researchers in America found that personalised playlists used as part of the ‘Music and Memory’ programme reduced the need for antipsychotic medication and in managing some of the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia
Read article

Music therapy enhances quality of care

The benefits of music therapy extend beyond the person living with dementia

Individual music therapy for managing neuropsychiatric symptoms for people with dementia and their carers

Researchers found that carers participating in weekly music therapy sessions thought that the therapy helped in managing symptoms and improved wellbeing. The quality of care from care givers improved as a result of the therapy programme due to enhanced communication between care staff and residents
Read article

Power of Music 2022 Report: Music as an integral part of health and social care

The power of music to support health and wellbeing is well documented with a report published last year by UK Music and Music for Dementia calling for music to be an integral part of health and social care. The report outlines a series of ambitious but achievable recommendations which can be quickly implemented to deliver positive change
Read article

Here's what experts say

"Music in and of itself is incredibly beneficial. You realise life can be lived well with dementia when you see people having a great time singing"
Helen, Dementia Choir, Lead
"People come together in our singing groups, make friends and really enjoy it. Doing music together strengthens their relationships"
Lucy, Arts & Health Charity, Director
"Music helps both carers and people living with dementia in so many ways - wellbeing and resilience, recharging your battery, rehumanising, and reconnecting"
Sue, Dementia Carers Charity, Head of Services

Read more about dementia

NHS logo


Learn more about the symptoms of dementia
Dementia UK logo


Learn more about different types of dementia
Alzheimer's society logo


Learn more about the signs and stages of dementia
Dementia Carers Count logo


Learn about support available for carers
A woman listens to music on headphones

Discover our Music Care Activities

Our personalised guides and directory help you navigate through best-practice for music care services, providing you with tools and knowledge of where to find the right care at the right time with the right people
Explore Activities
If you'd like to discuss opportunities to support, donate or if you have any other queries, we want to hear from you