Anglia Ruskin University

Harnessing the power of music to help people living with dementia

Innovative work in music therapy with a focus on the wellbeing of people with dementia and influencing policy at community and national level.

Around 55 million people worldwide live with dementia, a condition which can cause people to become confused and struggle to communicate. Pioneering work by Anglia Ruskin University’s music therapy team has shown the extraordinary capacity of music to connect where words cannot, and so improve the quality of life of people with dementia, and those who care for them.

The university houses one of the largest music therapy research centres in the world. It is unique in combining over 25-years’ expertise in clinical music therapy, music and neuroscience to prioritise research into people living with dementia. This research has directly improved care for more than 22,000 people and their families living with dementia in care homes and in the community.

Driving innovation in practice, research and policy, the university was the first in the UK to offer MA level music therapy training. Its research team includes 20 PhD students at any one time and leads some of the largest research projects in the field. The team contributed to the Music for Dementia Commission in the House of Lords in 2018, and to the NICE guidelines for dementia in 2019, which for the first-time recommended music therapy for people with dementia.