17.05.2022: To mark Dementia Action Week, UK Music take a look at Dementia Disco, which uses music and dance to boost mood and give care home residents, families, and carers a “proper night out”.
This piece is the second in a series of case studies on the Power of Music to highlight the importance of music to health and wellbeing.
Dementia Disco is a monthly discos, where members choose the music they want to listen to and they are encourage to talk about their choices with other members, and their families and/or carers. In this way, the music becomes a way for them to access memories.
They also encourage members to get up and dance, although they do not have to. This can provide carers with a short break or, more typically, the opportunity to spend some relaxed and fun time on the dancefloor, which some of them do not often get.
The discos are always incredibly positive, happy events, with some people describing them as the highlight of their month.
The timing of the discos (5-7pm) is deliberate, as is the choice of venue – people have commented that they feel as if they have had a “proper night out”, which seems to be really positive for them.
The music acts as a gateway to memories of positive experiences and memories of past events, which they then encourage members to talk about and share.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, they also organised a coach trip to the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool, which was a wonderful opportunity for many of its members to get out and visit somewhere some of them had not been for many years.
They had a fantastic time, dancing on the Strictly dancefloor. The power of music is a vehicle that allows people to connect with themselves and others. It enables members to interact and engage with others in positive ways, allowing them to access memories and emotions that are sometimes hard to express.
Research shows that brain activity and memory are enhanced by listening to music. The direct, emotional connection music can make with people is equally important.
Dementia Disco’s organisers have found it easy enough to harness community spirit and enterprise – if more people just asked and acted so much more could be done. They feel it is not about being a good citizen, more about being an active citizen – for your own benefit, and for others.
Read the Power of Music report from UK Music and Music for Dementia here.Back to news