People living with dementia in the capital find joy from new specialist music therapy. 

The Eric Liddell Centre which provides specialist care for people living with dementia has introduced a further online service to engage with clients and their carers who may be isolated and lonely due to the Covid restrictions.

Chloe-Rose Hughes, a trained Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered music therapist has begun a music therapy service to engage with people in the community. She is working with our carers support programme, and the specialist dementia day care team at the Centre, a leading care charity and community hub in Edinburgh, following her involvement in a wellbeing project provided by the Centre in 2020. 

Research has shown that music therapy can be a powerful intervention for enhancing mood, reducing depression and anxiety, facilitating reminiscence, promoting social interaction, fostering self-expression and promoting stimulation or relaxation. 

It is particularly helpful for people living with dementia, where the use of familiar songs and music has been widely recognised to evoke memories bringing people, places and life events to come to the forefront of a person’s mind. 

This helps to strengthen a person’s sense of self – who they are and what they have done throughout their life. It can be highly effective for those who can find verbal communication challenging.

Chloe is working through the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions by providing individual music therapy sessions on a weekly basis to the Centre’s clients and their carers.

John MacMillan, CEO of the Eric Liddell Centre said: “The Music Therapy Service is an addition to the many alternative service arrangements we have put in place to make sure that our clients’ needs are met and their contact with us remains despite the pandemic. 

“I’m delighted to welcome Chloe back at my team, with her support and expertise we can give our clients an important opportunity to take part in something new, where they can connect with others and enjoy themselves through music. The feedback already proves the real need and benefits for this key service.”

The sessions provide a consistent time where there is a safe and secure space for clients to express themselves and engage with the music therapist. Singing together, improvisation with percussion instruments, song-writing, listening to music, and at times developing personal musical skills are all popular and unique aspects of music therapy. 

Clients have reported that music therapy can help to lessen their feelings of loneliness and isolation. 

Chloe commented: -“I am really grateful that after last year’s successful Wellbeing Project, I had the chance to return to the Centre and to my old clients to start this new service. Providing music therapy sessions allows the Eric Liddell Centre to support these individuals in a person-centred and creative way, allowing for self-expression, growth of self-confidence and independence, and supports the Centre’s collective ethos of providing ways to keep the mind, body and soul active for all individuals in our community.“