Cis’s Story

Joan’s mum Cis was diagnosed with dementia in 2016. Joan explains: “It really is so very hard to see someone you love’s abilities and memory, their personality, fading in front of you. But then music therapy came into our lives.”

Joy and human connection are the two things that can be lost if your loved one develops dementia. Dementia makes it harder for someone to communicate, harder to concentrate, harder to carry out day to day tasks and harder to remember time, place and people. 

That’s where music comes in. Music is a powerful way to help someone living with dementia retain their sense of identity and continue to function, even as the brain deteriorates. 

In the hands of an expert music therapist, it can help ease anxiety and disorientation and unlock memories. Music becomes a way to still engage meaningfully with someone even when they’ve lost language and this is key in breaking down the social isolation that is too often considered inevitable with dementia. 

Joan’s mum Cis was diagnosed with dementia in 2016. She explains: “It really is so very hard to see someone you love’s abilities and memory, their personality, fading in front of you. But then music therapy came into our lives. When we walked into the room for our first session there was a lovely warm feeling. People were relaxed, they made space for us to sit, and there was a feeling of true acceptance; no questions asked, no judgements made. 

So the singing started – at first mum didn’t join in, but she looked like she was enjoying herself. Then John, the therapist, played the opening chords to ‘Over The Rainbow’ and just like that, mum burst into song.  Music therapy made her simply shine with confidence. John would play so many songs from mum’s era and it was wonderful watching her remember them, it would bring a tear to the eye. 

Looking after someone with dementia can be a very lonely place: conversation is limited and repetitive, worrying about this or that health issue. Music therapy was our special time together – the only outing we could do on a regular basis. I loved the friendship and the support of the group; it gave me comfort, made me happy. 

 “Music therapy has helped our family cope, it has helped us bring out, and keep hold of, the mum that we all love and that is completely priceless. 

Right now in the UK there are 1 million people living with dementia. At Nordoff Robbins we want to use the power of music to help more families like Joan’s affected by this diseaseWe’re the largest music therapy charity in the UK but we receive no direct government funding and rely on generous supporters like you to continue our work. 

So this Christmas why not give the gift of music and help us help more families affected by dementia find joy and connection again. Making a donation is simple, just visit our donation page:

Donate here