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music therapist Chris Wilson and actor Vicky McClure with MHA resident Eileen Pegg

MHA care home resident Eileen Pegg featured in a major BBC One documentary to raise awareness of the effect music can have on people living with dementia.

Eileen, 91, is a resident at MHA Weston and Queensway House care home in Stafford and is living with advanced dementia. As part of her care, she receives life-enhancing music therapy – a service MHA provides free of charge to residents living in its specialist dementia care homes thanks to charitable donations.

Line of Duty actress Vicky McClure has been exploring the impact that music can have on people living with dementia in the two-part BBC One documentary Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure in which she forms a choir of people living with the condition. The two-part documentary started on Thursday 2 May at 8pm.

As part of the documentary, the production company approached MHA to discuss and feature its pioneering music therapy service. As a result, Vicky visited Weston & Queensway House and joined Eileen and her music therapist Chris Wilson for a one-to-one session, which was filmed for the documentary.

Eileen and Chris’ music therapy session featured in the second episode of the documentary, which aired on BBC One on Thursday 9 May at 8pm.

Chris said: “Music therapy at MHA is very much a clinical intervention. We are not just playing and singing with our residents but looking for responses and reactions to music which we can then pass on to care home staff to use in day-to-day care.

“It might be a piece of music we discover that has a calming effect on someone, a particular beat which energises them or else a song which provokes memories. And the effect of music on an individual can be profound. In Eileen’s case, it has meant she has been able to hold conversations with her brother and chat with her carers.”

MHA is currently the leading employer of music therapists working with people living with dementia in the UK, having pioneered the service 10 years ago, starting at Weston & Queensway House. It now employs 26 specialists who work across its 63 dementia care homes thanks to charitable support. You can help us provide this life-enhancing service to even more older people living with dementia >>

MHA’s Chief Music Therapist Dr Ming Hung Hsu said: “We know from research the difference that music can make to people living with dementia, from its onset right through to advanced stages. We were delighted to be asked to be part of the documentary and showcase how music can have a positive impact even at the latter stages of dementia.”

Music Therapy and Dementia

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Music therapy is an established psychological clinical intervention to help people living with conditions such as dementia through supporting their psychological, emotional, cognitive, physical, communicative and social needs. Learn more >>

Dementia Care at MHA

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MHA is a pioneer of person-centred specialist dementia care. Recognising each person as a unique individual, we provide the highest quality care to preserve dignity, treat people with respect and promote independence.

As a charity, we are thrilled to be able to offer one-to-one and group music therapy sessions free of charge to our residents living with dementia to help unlock special memories and express emotions and feelings. Find your nearest MHA dementia care home >>

Fundraising for Music Therapy

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Music therapy sessions, both one-to-one and group, are provided free of charge to residents and funded by charitable donations and the re-investment of MHA’s operating surplus. It costs £30 to provide a one-to-one session like the one filmed for the documentary.

Donate or learn more about how you can help us to deliver even more music therapy sessions for people living with dementia >>

Becoming a Music Therapist

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Music therapists are highly trained allied health professionals, providing treatment that can help to transform people's lives. MHA is proud to be one of the largest employers on music therapists in the UK working with people living with dementia. Learn more >>

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