Healthcare news

Life-changing impact of new music therapy for dementia patients

Kirk House has been recognised as Northern Ireland's first ‘Music & Memory’ certified home. Simon Warner-Bore, chief executive of Music & Memory UK, presents the accreditation certificate to Kirk House Manager, Leona Larkham

A PERSONALISED 'music therapy' designed to trigger memories in dementia patients has had a profound effect on residents of a Belfast care home.

Kirk House, a flagship project of the charity Belfast Central Mission (BCM) in the east of the city, introduced the specialist programme last year.

Known as 'Music & Memory', it trains carers to utilise music that has been identified as significant to the patient.

The music is then added to a MP3 player, which is integrated into the resident's daily therapeutic care.

Kirk House is the first care home in the north to officially introduce the scheme.

Manager Leona Larkham said they had already seen "wonderful results".

"Listening to personalised or loved music can make all the difference between isolation and connection and we have seen first-hand how certain songs can trigger memories and emotions, literally bringing some of our residents 'back to life', so to speak, which is hugely rewarding for the resident, their family and our staff," she said.

Simon Warner-Bore, chief executive of Music & Memory UK, said: "Our programme is supported by extensive research and growing awareness surrounding the benefit of personalised music as a low-cost, fast acting and non-pharmacological way of connecting people with their memories and a sense of self."

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