People with dementia and carers are enabled to access music in a number of settings, at all stages of the Dementia Well Pathway.

Presently, there is no pharmacological cure for dementia, though research is ongoing in many areas.

Music has a valuable role to play in enhancing quality of life for people living with the syndrome, and their carers. It has the power to bring people together in the here and now, providing a way to stay connected with loved ones and carers through shared experiences.

It can enliven, stimulate and enable people to express themselves creatively beyond words. This involvement enables people to be seen for who they are beyond their diagnosis.
For extra information, evidence and best practice please scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Regional offerings

Greater Sport and Greater Manchester Moving

GreaterSport is a Greater Manchester charity with a clear purpose to Change Lives Together through movement, physical activity and sport. We lead, support and connect people and partners across the system to develop and deliver on the whole system vision and approach to GM Moving in Action.

String of Hearts

String of Hearts is a community arts organisation which connects older adults through music-making, to reduce isolation and improve wellbeing. Their activities include group music sessions, music phone calls, recordings and showcase events, shining a light on the creativity of people in our community. Activities take place in community venues and healthcare settings, with referrals through social prescribing.


Dementia Awareness Community training package

A dementia diagnosis can bring with it many changes and challenges. But arguably one of the hardest challenges is the isolation that can come with loss of confidence and difficulties accessing community resources; whether that’s accessing a leisure centre for a morning swim, visiting a local art group, or having a nice meal out.

There is growing evidence to suggest that art, music and leisure activities can offer physical and psychological benefits to those living with a dementia and their care partners, benefits which can improve their brain health and help them maintain independence for longer: (

This is why Trafford and Wigan councils have come together with Dementia United and GreaterSport to fund an exciting piece of work which will empower community groups, businesses and leisure providers to support people living with cognitive impairment and dementia in their communities.

Working in partnership, Made by Mortals and Together Dementia Support have developed an immersive training experience co-produced and shaped by people living with dementia and their care partners.

The complete training package can be accessed here: This resource includes an immersive audio experience and PDF training materials. Dementia United are currently seeking expressions of interest from localities who would like to work with us to coordinate a train the trainer package for their communities, this will include a 3 to 4-hour workshop hosted by instructors with significant training and dementia experience and individuals who have lived experience of dementia.


The IDoService project aims to develop a service for people living with mild to moderate dementia. The service will help them to continue to be part of society. You can find more information here:

The Greater Manchester Creative Health Strategy

When it comes to dementia, early intervention is vital. If mild cognitive impairment can be identified, it provides a window of opportunity in which to slow, or avert, the onset of dementia, with creative health approaches having a part to play. Once dementia has been diagnosed, creative health approaches come to the fore in slowing its progression and improving quality of life.

There is ample evidence of engagement with creativity, culture and heritage helping to maintain cognitive functioning in, and enhance the quality of life of people with dementia. Dementia United has pledged to ‘Support Greater Manchester’s brilliant work on the arts and dementia, working across the GM localities and with national initiatives. This is based on the rationale that:

A growing evidence-base suggests that participation in high-quality arts and cultural activities can have a beneficial impact on a range of chronic conditions, including dementia. Indeed, the social and creative elements of arts-based programmes may even reduce an individual’s risk of developing dementia or slowing the progression of existing conditions. Greater Manchester is global leader in research and practice in the field of arts for health and wellbeing.

Greater Manchester creative health strategy

National offerings

Arts 4 Dementia

Art 4 Dementia is a charity with a website has resources, training, art programmes that are dementia friendly and much more. Their aim is to help preserve a fulfilling active life for longer for the person living with dementia.

Music for Dementia

Music for Dementia is a national campaign to make music an integral part of dementia care in the UK. They work with more than 200 charities and organisations. The website has resources, links, guidance for health and care staff. They have advice and guidance for people living with dementia in all settings e.g. at home, in a care home.

Playlist for life

Playlist for Life is a music and dementia charity. The charity was founded in 2013 by writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson after the death of her mother, Mamie, who had dementia. Our vision is simple: we want everyone with dementia to have a unique, personalised playlist and everyone who loves or cares for them to know how to use it.
Telephone: 0141 404 0683

Resources page: including translation into 10 different languages:

Intergenerational Music Making (IMM)

IMM (Intergenerational Music Making) is a national not-for-profit organisation which delivers programmes, training, and campaigning & research to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of the old and the young in communities across the UK, through the power of music.

We work closely with care homes, schools, hospitals, and musicians and creatives, sharing our expertise to deliver and embed a culture of intergenerational practice.

Intergenerational music is all encompassing working with individuals and groups across our communities focussing on bridging the gaps between generations, supporting those living with dementia and their carers. Our work aims to tackle health inequalities and create new spaces where voices can be heard. acknowledged and celebrated. Through music making, song writing, choral singing, art, movement and so much more, we work to provide spaces for people to share their stories, make new connections and adopt creative, accessible ways to support health and wellbeing.


Email: or

Shared Harmonies

Shared Harmonies is passionate about sharing the impact of singing with others:

Shared Harmonies/So many Beauties spoke to 23 different organisations and individuals about the barriers and enablers for people to access culturally appropriate dementia support. They recruited 2 trainees offering them a paid learning experience and helping us to diversify our team in the process. They worked in collaboration with SoundUp Arts, Age UK Salford, Dementia Forward and Touchstone BME Dementia Service Leeds. They delivered 30 singing for wellbeing sessions attended by 123 older people living with dementia, Parkinson’s and respiratory conditions

Formulations in dementia care:


In September 2019 the World Health Organisation published their report of a major review to address the question ‘what is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being?’.

The report, authored by Daisy Fancourt and Saoirse Finn of University College London, took into consideration the results of over 3,700 studies investigating the arts and health.

A section on dementia specifically (pp 44–45) found good evidence for several health benefits of music:

"Music, in particular, has been found to support cognition in people with dementia. It may be particularly suitable because for certain types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, because brain areas underlying musical memory can be relatively well preserved even in later stages of the disease (804). A number of studies have found beneficial effects of listening to and making music for global cognition as well as for verbal fluency, visuospatial skills and speech"

Dance movement therapy and music have also been found to support embodied nonverbal communication, even when language deteriorates. Music and dance help to reduce social isolation and loneliness for individuals with dementia, partly through providing a sense of security and belonging. The provision of arts activities in nursing homes and their encouragement within communities has been found to increase socialization and positive social behaviours and drama activities improved communication between patients and carers.

Music has been found to enhance the effects of reminiscence therapies on stress, anxiety and depression. Active engagement with music and music listening have been found to reduce agitation (e.g. repetitive acts, wandering, restlessness and aggressive behaviours) and behavioural problems in people with dementia. In care homes, background music has been shown to reduce agitation during mealtimes and improve cooperation during bathing. The arts also have a positive effect on physical health and functioning. For people with dementia who have been hospitalized, music has been associated with a reduction in the average length of stay, an increase in discharges, a reduction in falls and a decrease in the need for antipsychotic drugs.

Music reawakening, musicianship and access for dementia the way forward: Engaging with music has a number of psychological, social and emotional benefits for people with dementia. These personal benefits were presented under four themes:

  • Taking Part
  • Being Connected - both to themselves, to other people and to the sensory environment
  • Affirming Identity -it was the sense of strengthening a sense of identity and creating a meaningful connection with others that appeared more important than the remembrance of particular life event
  • Immersion ‘in the moment’.

This report recognises that music and arts activities and interventions that are centred in public health and health promotion, community health and psychodynamic therapy, support the salutogenic model of healthcare. Moreover, they can lead to fulfilment of the spectrum of human needs. For people with dementia and their carers this model can play a vital role in supporting their quality of life as stressors build.

Best Practice Resources

Manchester Camerata - Music in mind programme:

Halle Orchestra: -

Arts4dementia, So many beauties: - Holly Marsland

Podcast | BCKuk of 12 episodes about how to integrate music in to dementia care: -

Music for Dementia, toolkits for social workers and link workers: -

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