The Dementia Friendly Awards are the Alzheimer’s Society’s annual celebration and recognition of the achievements of individuals, organisations, projects and partnerships in creating dementia-friendly communities around the UK during the last 12 months.
After a phenomenal number of nominations, which were judged by a panel of people who work with people living with dementia and a number of industry experts, the BSO are delighted to be shortlisted to the final three as ‘Dementia Friendly Organisation of the year – small and medium’ for the second year in a row.
A fundamental part of the Orchestra’s mission is to work beyond the concert hall and BSO Participate offers people across the South and South West the opportunity to engage with and experience music through five specially tailored and distinct strands of activity.
BSO’s Boost is Participates strand of work which focusses on health and wellbeing through music. The Orchestra has delivered pioneering projects which have made a real difference to people living with dementia, and their carers in range of different settings.
One of these projects is Music for a While, the BSO’s pioneering music engagement that delivers workshops and performances to people living with dementia in acute hospital settings.
Working with Arts and Health South West and nursing staff in Poole, Winchester and Portsmouth hospitals the project aimed to improve the quality of life for patients living with dementia.
The pilot project initially launched in three hospitals, Poole, Portsmouth and Winchester, and this year has been expanded to include Dorchester County Hospital. This ground-breaking project was also nominated for the Royal Society for Public Health’s ‘Health and Wellbeing’ Award in 2016 in recognition of its life-changing work.
The Cake Concerts are another project run by Boost in order to improve the lives of those living with Dementia. Working closely with Dementia Friends and the Alzheimer’s Society Boost has designed the Cake Concerts.
A small number of BSO musicians perform a classical music concert for those living with dementia and their friends, family and carers. The Cake Concerts allow those living with dementia the opportunity to enjoy a classical music concert with a slice of cake in a relaxed and accessible setting.
Thanks to projects such as these, the Orchestra can continue to reach more people in the community and use music to change and support people’s lives. Music can remind people with dementia of past experiences and enable them to better communicate and connect. Evidence shows that it can have a positive effect on patients’ mood, as well as reducing anxiety and encouraging sleeping, drinking and eating.
Winners of the 2017 Dementia Friendly Awards will be announced at an awards ceremony on 29 November at County Hall, London
Philip R Buttall
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