There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. Evidence shows that compared with usual care, singing and music listening improved mood, orientation, attention, memory and quality of life in people with mild to moderate dementia.

Our BSO Associate Musicians run music sessions for patients, carers and staff, while participants are encouraged to listen, sing, play percussion instruments and occasionally compose new songs. The work also takes place on the wards to perform at the bedsides of patients who request it.

Our award-winning original research in 2015 showed that the observed impacts of the project were consistently positive. Impacts included strongly positive effects on relaxation, distraction, engagement and agitation. The pilot project involved working with nursing staff and patients in Poole, Portsmouth and Winchester hospital, and the project was led by Arts & Health South West and was aimed at improving the quality of life for patients living with dementia.

Download the full Arts and Dementia report to learn more about this award-winning project.

I would like to thank Neil for coming to the hospital and playing his viola for the patients. My father enjoyed this and parts of him were coming back, if only for a little while!
Son of patient, Poole Hospital