Seasonal Songs Can Help People With Dementia

While hospital, health and wellbeing radio stations are being a friend to those unfortunate to be in hospital and away from family and loved ones during the holiday season -  NHS England says that older people listening to familiar music from their younger years can stimulate "emotional memories" in people with dementia by helping to keep their brain active and while many of us might get a bit bored of the same old seasonal songs being rolled out each year, people with dementia can actually benefit from a touch of festive familiarity singing along to White Christmas can be particularly helpful to older people as they can stimulate memories by helping keep the brain active. These ‘emotional memories’ in people with dementia remain lodged in their minds and rekindling them improves a feeling of connectedness with other people which is so important for people with dementia and that's why it's vital we all do what we can to keep our brains active and social networks alive.

There is growing evidence that music is benefical in helping patients feel less anxious before a procedure which also can decrease the level of pain felt by patients during a procedure and feeling in more control over their pain - while research from the University of Helsinki back in 2008 showed that patients listening to music during the early stages of a stoke improved their recovery.  On the wards, the hospital radio volunteer is often the only non medical person the patient may see which helps them feel at ease in an unfamiliar environment. You can find out more on hospital, health and wellbeing radio's impact in an independent report commissioned by the Hospital Broadcasting Association in 2016.

Whether it’s an old song they used to enjoy or a classic Christmas film, reminiscing can be beneficial to someone with dementia – it can help to maintain their self-esteem, confidence and sense of self, as well as improve social interactions with others and helping people live well into old age and to manage with dementia are key parts of the NHS Long Term Plan. The Hospital Broadcasting Association's membership are asking their newly elected Westminster MP to support hospital, health and wellbeing radio stations. More details in Member Resources - login required or no login - here