Music and Dementia
As part of the federal initiative Music and Dementia, we call for more cultural and social participation for people with dementia.
The growing number of people affected by dementia is one of the great challenges for our society. Both in the context of their treatment, care, and support and with the aim of enabling them to participate as fully as possible in cultural and social life in order to enjoy a high quality of life, the manifold potentials of music must be used more resolutely and to a much greater extent than before. The demand for musical and artistic programs, pedagogical and geragogical musical activities, as well as music-therapeutic interventions, is far from being met in institutions of care for the elderly and in the home environment.
For this reason, the German Music Council (DMR), the German Music Therapy Society (DMtG), and the German Society for Music Geragogy (DGfMG) jointly launched the Federal Initiative Music and Dementia in September 2022 at the initiative of the Hamburg State Music Council. The aim of the initiative is to sustainably ensure needs-based music therapy, music geragogy, and arts and music programs for people with dementia throughout Germany.
On March 29, 2023, the resolution "Music for a Better Quality of Life in Dementia" was published by the Federal Initiative Music and Dementia. In it, political actors at all levels of government were urged to acknowledge and act on the following list of expectations and demands:
Dementia patients must have access to qualified music programs everywhere in Germany, e.g. by being able to participate in a qualified music program at least once a week.
In all districts and cities, there is a need for contact points (e.g. service points, regional networks) in which qualified professionals and volunteers initiate, establish, and promote music programs for dementia patients and their relatives, arrange for qualified personnel and volunteers for music programs, and organize or offer further education and training measures for caregivers and volunteers.
The Federal Ministries of Health (BMG), of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), of Education and Research (BMBF), and the Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media (BKM) are requested to set up an inter-ministerial working group to develop a concept for necessary standards and structures, with the significant participation of the Federal Initiative Music and Dementia.
This concept is to be developed by 2024, embedded in the National Dementia Strategy, and anchored in the 2025 federal budget.
The Ministries BMG, BMFSFJ, and BKM are called upon to work together to ensure needs-based funding for sustainable structures and suitable projects.
The Ministries BMG, BMFSFJ, and the BKM should initiate an alliance for the cultural participation of dementia patients in the sense of the Federal Plan for the Elderly (participation, activation of potential, and support for self-determined participation).
In order to generate a more concrete picture and robust data relating to music-based offers for people with dementia in old people's and nursing homes, the potential of music-based offerings for people with dementia was surveyed over 15 months under the direction of Prof. Dr. Alexander F. Wormit in cooperation with the SRH University of Applied Sciences Heidelberg and the University of Vechta. The results were presented and discussed at a symposium on Wednesday, March 29, 2023 on the SRH campus in Heidelberg.
As the umbrella organization of musical life, the German Music Council, with its music policy network, is now strengthening the National Dementia Strategy Network, an association of more than 70 actors from politics, society, and research. In order to sustainably support people with dementia and their relatives, the participants have agreed on more than 160 measures in four fields: participation, family and loved ones, care, and research. The National Dementia Strategy was adopted by the Federal Government and has been implemented since 2020.