Dementia and Alzheimer sufferers could be handed a rare gift in advance of the holidays this year if they were given the opportunity to take part in a series of music therapy sessions with a freelance or agency contracted music therapist.
As previously reported by The Freelance Informer, thousands of care home residents have been missing out on vital music therapy sessions and social interaction, which significantly alleviate the symptoms of disorders such as dementia because those who deliver them are not classed as essential workers.
Grace Meadows, Director of Music for Dementia, was quoted in a Mirror report: “We’re hearing from music therapists every day who are telling us they can’t work because they’re freelancers and not essential workers. It means thousands of people are being denied access to services that are vital to their quality of life.”
Without access to meaningful daily social interaction through visits, including those with music therapists, many residents have developed anxiety and become reliant on medication they did not previously need, said the report.
Studies have reported that singing in care homes can reduce anxiety by 50 per cent and the need for medication by 67 per cent. The Alzheimer’s Society is calling on the Government to place social contact at the heart of its plans to support people with dementia during the ongoing pandemic.
“There’ll be a million people with dementia in the UK by 2025. A million people living with a condition that does not yet have a cure,” says Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing, at Alzheimer’s Society.
The shut out of music therapists in care homes is also hitting some freelancers hard with many seeing all of their work dry up overnight. Those therapists set up as limited company contractors, PAYE freelancers and the newly self-employed – will continue to fall through the gaps in government support.
The Freelance Informer is calling on all health and social care agencies to work with carers, care home management and local authorities to arrange and devise safe and COVID-free music therapy sessions for residents and those having private home care. Not only will you be giving the gift of music, but you will also be giving the gift of memories – which is priceless.
If you are a music therapist and would like to be part of our #music4memories campaign, please share this story on social media and with your colleagues, employers or recruitment agency staff.