Dementia essentials training at Archbold House – Part 2

“Music expresses that which cannot be said on which it is impossible to be silent” 

Victor Hugo

In this week’s dementia training, our staff was reminded of the need to validate our residents, especially those suffering with dementia. Acknowledging the person can give meaning to their existence. One method to connect with the person is through music. Music has many benefits and is often used to bring people together. Human nature wants to be connected and be close to each other and be social. People suffering from Dementia is often perceived to have lost their capacity to remain close to others. With the help of music therapy, it can help reactivate and reconnect human relationships in ways that are central to their values, to be able to enter into a social world, even in that brief moment. Matthews (2015) discussed of the possibilities where music therapy can protect the affected neurons and delay those neurons that have not yet been affected, and also the potential to exercise the unaffected areas in the brain.

Henry (YouTube clip) was, for a moment, able to hold his own and be validated as a person in this social world, forming his ideas and new relationship with his carer. Despite the gaps in his memory, he was able to get back a part of his narrative selfhood that is central to understanding who he is. For the person with dementia, to become socially involved by telling bits of their story gives them the feeling of meaning and existence. When they unlock their narrative social aspect as a participant and interact with others, such as carers, it can change other’s perception and attitude towards them.

At KOPWA, we see the value of having a dedicated music therapist. Each week Mark Fleming who has been with Archbold House for years brings the power of music to our residents. His knowledge of each resident is profound and he works tirelessly to connect with residents in bringing them hope and joy.



For more information on Dementia, please visit Dementia Australia or phone the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

For more information regarding KOPWA’s facilities and services or career opportunity, please contact or call us on (02) 9412 0284.



Matthews, S. (2015). Dementia and the Power of Music Therapy. Bioethics, 29(8), 573-579. Retrieved from: doi:10.1111/bioe.12148