New documentary explores impact of music on people with dementia

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A new documentary released today gives a snapshot into how people living with dementia are using music and technology at home.

‘Music, Technology & Dementia’ by Galway native Lisa Kelly was released today to coincide with World Music Therapy Day.

Lisa Kelly, a music therapist and Research Assistant with Lero, was providing music therapy before the pandemic in a residential care facility for people living with dementia.

“The residents’ response to music was incredible and provided them with a way to connect when verbal interaction became difficult,” Lisa said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic necessitated us to move to technology to stay connected with one another while safely staying apart, so I was no longer able to provide in-person services.”

Lisa has recently started a PhD on this topic, and said her thoughts went out to those living in rural or isolated areas who may have reduced mobility, or live alone.

“Could technology and online working be the solution to bridge this gap and help people living with dementia through music?

“It sparked my curiosity. It spurred me to begin my PhD studies at the interface of music therapy, technology and dementia.

“As part of this, I wanted to connect with people living with dementia using technology and music daily, as well as those who facilitate online music programmes for people with dementia.”

Among the contributors to the documentary which was funded by Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software, is Dr Hilary Moss, MA Music Therapy Course Director at the University of Limerick.

Dr Hilary Moss said we know that people can still respond to music in the later stages of dementia.

“When they can’t have a conversation with you, they can sing a song, recall song lyrics, even still play instruments that they learned during their life.

“I think it’s really important that we investigate and develop online music therapy services for people living with dementia.

“We are keen to support people who are living at home. We all want to remain at home for as long as possible,” said Dr Moss.

The documentary “Music, Technology & Dementia” is available at  https://youtu.be/SDb0TLToTyU – or watch below