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Dementia is so personal. This is the clearest message from Dementia Awareness Week as we try to spread understanding of the condition. Personal because it affects an individual’s ability to express their own character. Personal because no two accounts are the same – each person is unique and therefore their experience of dementia, and the way it affects their loved ones too, is also unique. Personal because it requires especially person-centred care – as MHA well knows.
 
In the middle of Dementia Awareness Week, MHA Patron Pam Rhodes is recording the charity’s Radio 4 Appeal at the BBC Broadcasting House. She will share the story of Dorothy Cartledge, a resident with dementia who continues sharing and expressing the person she is through music therapy. We will also be announcing the findings of MHA-commissioned research carried out at The Homestead in Carterton and Fitzwarren House in Swindon, to see how music therapy benefits people with dementia. Long story short: residents who received music therapy showed dramatic improvements in well-being and staff reported considerable benefits too. One of MHA’s founding principles is respect for each person as a unique individual, and in this spirit we helped to pioneer a person-centred approach to dementia care, which we continue to research and develop to this day.
 
With Dementia Awareness Week and the launch of the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative, it is heartening to see people’s willingness to learn more about this condition. If you love someone with dementia, click here to find out about the resources we could offer to help you. You can also tune in to hear Pam delivering the Radio 4 Appeal (FM 92.4 - 94.6, LW 198) on Sunday 6 July and 7.55am and 9.26pm, and Thursday 10 July at 3.27pm. Or click here to make a donation to MHA’s Music Therapy Appeal now.

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