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Lost Chord

Lost Chord is a charity that organises therapeutic interactive musical sessions, in residential homes and day centres, for people with dementia. Using highly trained professional musicians with a variety of musical instruments and styles, we attempt to improve wellbeing, quality of life and self-esteem. From 110 sessions/year at its inception in 1999, Lost Chord now organises over 1400 sessions/year in 130 venues, affecting the lives of more than 20,000 people with dementia annually. Lost Chord works in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society in their memory cafes, with the local hospital trusts to give regular performances in dementia wards, with Sheffield University involved in research and local ethnic minority alliance to establish a BME memory café. We train musicians in how to involve and interact with their audience, as improving skills and competences and broadening their approach to their own music al career. We also offer training sessions to volunteers and carers on the impact of music on the brain and its importance in the future care of people with dementia, thereby disseminating good practice throughout the UK.

6 April 2016
Local Alliances:
Rotherham Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Promoting the use of music as a therapeutic tool in an attempt to stimulate responses from those struggling to cope with dementia and in particular those who are unable to walk, talk, feed themselves or communicate in any way. Setting examples of good practice in the use of therapeutic music to enhance the quality of life of those with dementia. Helping to produce national guidelines for the use of music as an effective intervention assisting in the treatment of dementia. Helping to implement research into the effect of music on those living with dementia. Helping to form partnerships especially with The Alzheimer's Society 'Singing for the brain' scheme.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

The challenges are inevitably financial i.e. musicians fees, travel expenses, subsistence, volunteer travel expenses.

Insufficient research into the value of music in the care and treatment of dementia.

A lack of understanding and appreciation of the impact of music on the brain. i.e. an appreciation that with the two sides to the brain, the left is responsible for speech and original thought and the right deals with music, song and dance. Because the left hand side is the first to deteriorate with the onset of dementia the right is often still intact, therefore when coherent speech has been lost people living with dementia could still sing all the words to a familiar song. Therefore helping them to communicate through the power of music and giving back their self esteem and improving their quality of life. A quality of life which can easily be destroyed by an overzealous drug regime.

2. Actions

  • Organising training courses

    Organising training courses which could be accessed by carers on the effects and use of music as a necessary intervention in the care of people living with dementia.

    Being implemented
  • • Partnership working

    Working in partnership with Sinfonia Viva in Derbyshire, an orchestra with vast experience of outreach work but not in the field of dementia, on a project to establish what impact improvised music has on people with dementia who rely to a greater extent on the memory of their past to support their existence in the present. In this way we are hoping to support inter-regional cooperation and the sharing of good practice in the field of dementia care.

    Being implemented