Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.
There are 2 sides to the brain, the left hand side dealing with speech, working things out and short term memory and the right hand side dealing with music, song , rhythm and learning things by rote. With the onset of dementia the left hand side tends to die off first, however, when the ability to speak coherently has all but been lost, the right hand side could still be intact. It’s this side of the brain that Lost Chord is able to concentrate on using music to stimulate the areas which are still intact, helping the person with dementia to respond and communicate through music, song and dance.
What is dementia?
Dementia is a common condition. Your risk of developing dementia increases as you get older, and the condition usually occurs in people over the age of 65.
Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. This includes problems with:
> memory loss
> thinking speed
> mental agility
People with dementia can become apathetic or uninterested in their usual activities.
For further information please visit NHS website.
– There are over 400 different types of dementia.
– 25 million people, or nearly half the UK population, are affected by dementia through knowing a close friend or family member with the condition.
– Over 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK- a number forecast to double within a generation.
– 163,000 new cases are diagnosed every year in England and Wales- that’s one every 3 minutes.
– Dementia currently costs the UK £20 billion a year. That is twice as much as cancer and three times as much as heart disease, however just 2.5% of the government’s medical research budget is spent on dementia research, compared to 25% on cancer.
“The baby boomers are getting older, and will stay older for longer. And they will run right into the dementia firing range. How will a society cope? Especially a society that can’t so readily rely on those stable family relationships that traditionally provided the backbone of care?” – Terry Pratchett.
We aim to have a positive effect on dementia by using music to stimulate the areas of the brain which are still intact. We’re hoping to maintain some sort of communication with these residents for a longer period of time through the different stages of the disease. This is particularly important where verbal communication is no longer possible.
Each month those of us involved in the scheme experience new dimensions of its effectiveness, which merely confirms clinical evidence that there are certain areas of the brain associated with musical patterns which remain potentially responsive, even when other areas have virtually deteriorated.
Music is the key which unlocks the door behind which an often frightened, intimidated and humiliated person hides.
Are you concerned about your memory or the memory of someone you love? If so click on this link to get some helpful advice from the brilliant Alzheimer’s Society.