“My wife Chris had only recently been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s when we were told about a music and visual arts project run by Manchester Camerata. We didn’t know what to expect but we liked singing so thought we’d give it a go.
“Over the next 12 weeks or so, we really looked forward to those weekly sessions but still had no clue as to where it was all leading. As the ‘mystery tour’ unfolded, we had such fun singing and making music with other people – before we knew it, we’d created a fantastic piece of visual art and composed songs to go with it, all with the help and guidance of people from Camerata, who seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we were!
“What remains as a powerful memory is the smiles on peoples’ faces, the laughter and the realisation that this sort of experience can bring forth creativity and energy from people with dementia that they didn’t know they had – and actually, it was exactly the same for the carers taking part. We’re already looking forward to the next one!”
Dementia is rapidly becoming the health and social care challenge of the 21st century. Numbers affected are rocketing because of an expanding older population and with the current lack of existing provision, older people are facing a lonely situation.
—We carry out ground-breaking work in this area, bringing together trained music therapists and musicians to work with individuals and groups through music therapy
—Independent research demonstrates that our work improves the overall physical and mental wellbeing of people living with dementia
—Project participants have stopped needing to take medication or access health services as a result of our projects (New Economy research)
—This year, we will engage over 350 people through our collaborations with organisations such as Age Friendly Manchester, the NHS, Alzheimer's Society and National Autistic Society
—We aim to reach 3,000 people by 2018
Over the next three years, in partnership with The University of Manchester and Lancaster University, Camerata PhD, Robyn Dowlen, is pioneering a tool to measure ‘in-the-moment’ embodied experiences for people living with dementia – a new field of study.
If you're keen to know more or would like to support our work, please contact Lucy Geddes on:
T: 0161 226 8696