MHA’s music therapy service for residents living with dementia will be showcased on BBC Radio 4’s The Untold.
The half-hour documentary, due to be broadcast on Monday 18 December at 11am, features Torrwood care home resident Paul Mosby, along with wife Yvonne and daughter Helen.
Paul (87) has been receiving one-to-one music therapy with music therapist Michael Angus since September 2017, as well as taking part in weekly group sessions.
Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013, Paul has been a resident at Torrwood since early 2016. He is a former oboist, having played with various orchestras, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic and BBC Symphony orchestras, and been a musician at West End shows in London.
Torrwood is run by MHA, a national older person’s charity which provides care, support and accommodation to more than 17,800 older people across England, Scotland and Wales. MHA were recently recognised for their exceptional End of Life Care in the 3rd Sector Care Awards.
The Untold has been following Paul through a number of sessions and the documentary will reveal how music therapy has helped him and how it helps others living with dementia.
Music therapy is provided free of charge to residents living with dementia in MHA’s specialist dementia care homes, thanks to charitable donations. Trained music therapists work directly with residents, interacting with them through live music, seeing how they respond to musical cues as well as the exchange of verbal, facial, vocal and bodily expressions. It can help reduce the anxiety and agitation dementia can cause, as well as providing feedback to care home staff on how to manage day-to-day symptoms.
Paul’s wife Yvonne said: “Not long after his diagnosis, Paul went from being someone who would enjoy music and loved reading to someone with a very different personality. He stopped taking an interest in things, then he became very restless. He was not who he was. Since starting music therapy, Paul seems much, much more relaxed and happy. He seems at peace.”
Daughter Helen said: “In the music therapy sessions, my dad comes to life. It seems to key into something in him. It allows him to be the showman he used to be once again. The sessions allow him to connect in a way that he couldn’t do otherwise because words are now beyond him.”
Music therapist Michael Angus said: “You really see Paul’s sense of humour and sense of worth coming through in the sessions we have. There is still an aspect of him wanting to be an entertainer and that comes through in his reactions to me and my work.”
Beverley Davis, manager at Torrwood, said: “All of us at the home can’t wait to listen to the programme and hear Paul’s story. We see for ourselves the difference makes to our residents living with dementia and are looking forward to the Radio 4 listeners learning more about this valuable therapy.”