Transforming Health Highlight : Dementia support through Design, Music and Play

Design, Music and Play are being used to support people living with dementia in Greater Manchester and internationally.

Arts and Humanities research and practice are supporting people living with dementia in successful projects coming out of the region and applied regionally in Greater Manchester and internationally.

Professor Kristina Niedderer, Professor of Design, and Professorial Research lead for Design at Manchester Metropolitan University has been researching the role of design to engender mindful interaction and behaviour change.

This is Me / All about Us game

On 15 December 2021, the evaluation of the This is Me mindful life-storytelling game was published, open access, in the Journal of Aging Studies. The paper describes how the This is Me game has been co-designed and evaluated by researchers from the MinD team together with people with dementia, care partners and carers in four countries, including the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain. Its aim was to provide support to people with early to mid-stage dementia, especially following the diagnosis. Based on concepts of life-storytelling and mindfulness, the game encourages players to talk about, and reflect on, their life experiences and aspirations to help payers focus on what they can and want to do with their life.

Professor Niedderer currently leads the European project ‘IDoService’ , which aims to develop a service with and for people with early stage dementia to enable them actively participate in and contribute to society to support their wellbeing. Prior to this, Kristina lead the European Project MinD ‘Designing for people with dementia: designing for mindful self-empowerment and social engagement’. Using the concept of mindful design, the project investigates innovative design solutions to enable self-empowerment and confidence building of people living with dementia. The work has lead to the development of games and a toolkit for game design, which received accreditation for the World Health Organisation and continues to support global researchers and conversations.

You can download the toolkit in the AHEAD Resources section of the website

Caring Through Music

Elsewhere in Greater Manchester, Manchester Camerata Music Cafés are for people living with dementia family carers and to make music and have fun together, meet new friends and learn how music can help you reconnect to your loved ones.

Powered by Manchester Camerata, the Music in Mind programme supports people living with dementia and their carers as part of the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Music and Dementia. The work they deliver is about more than just helping those with dementia; it’s about supporting the entire ecosystem of dementia. care, from health and care professionals to families and friends. Throughout 2024 the programme is being delivered in Gorton and Wigan and the programme has also been adopted internationally in countries such as Japan.

Incorporating music into dementia care can have truly life-changing impacts. Music in Mind Music Champions programme is focused on allowing anyone to deliver care through music, no matter their background or prior musical experience.

Music Champions is a programme to help people live well with dementia using the therapeutic benefits of music. Through a mixture of face-to-face and online training, Music Champions will learn and develop the skills to run their own music sessions in care homes, community groups, supported living, day centres or as part of one-on-one care.