International study to help dementia sufferers
The benefits of music therapy for people with dementia and their carers will be tested in a major international study led by Melbourne researchers.
Specialists will visit family members who live at home with people with memory loss associated with the disease.
They will be taught how to use music and singing to help connect with their loved ones and manage symptoms such as confusion and agitation.
For the first time, expected economic benefits such as reduced falls and hospital admissions, as well as improved carer health and wellbeing, will also be measured.
The University of Melbourne is seeking volunteers from Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Running over three years, the Homeside study will also examine the impact of reading activities.
University of Melbourne head of music therapy Professor Felicity Baker said: "We know already that music stimulates memories of the past and can create a positive mood response.
"What we want to do is demonstrate with certainty how much it improves quality of life, not just for those with dementia but those caring for them at home, and to examine the cost benefit to society."
The trial will involve 200 Australian participants, and another 800 across Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland.
Already 447,000 Australians have dementia, with numbers to rapidly rise as the population ages.
The university team also hopes to develop a mobile app that carers can use to learn how to integrate music therapy into caring for their loved one.
People interested in joining the trial can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (03) 8344 4449 or 0438 386 292.
Those wanting to donate to help fund the study and app development can click here