RESEARCHERS have launched a new study to see what effect live music has on dementia sufferers.

Residents from Longlands Care Home in Blackbird Leys were given tambourines and instruments in the first session of a 10-week study run by the University of Essex and Live Music Now.

The research, run by Dr Murray Griffin and Dr Louise Marsland, of the University of Essex Ageing and Assisted Living Network, will measure the residents’ reactions to the music such as how long they smile, how much they laugh and how they join in.

Care Home teams will be interviewed throughout the study to find out how residents enjoyed the live concerts.

Lead Investigator Murray Griffin said: “While the use of music in the treatment of dementia is well researched, none has used observation of aspects of engagement via video recording before, during and after interactive music sessions provided by highly talented young professional musicians.’’ Live Music Now musicians Dan Walsh and Nic Zuppardi of The Absentees took to the stage on Tuesday to put on performances for 27 residents at the Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) Care Home in Balfour Road.

They will deliver live interactive concerts during their 10 weeks as musicians-in-residence at the care home.

Resident Ellen Thomas, 82, said: “We loved having them in. The musicians play really well. I am looking forward to seeing them again next week.”

Joyce Nagle, 82, said: “They were absolutely brilliant.’’ Family liaison co-ordinator Luciano Thomas said: “What we observed in terms of the music was really promising.’’ The strategic director for wellbeing at Live Music Now, Douglas Noble, said: “This important study will help to support the growing case for live music as a significant contributor to older peoples’ health and wellbeing.”

Principal consultant for research and innovation at OSJCT, Victoria Elliot, said: “Across our 71 homes, home managers and care teams recognise the positive impact live music can have upon residents and particularly those with the most profound of dementias.”

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