St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School students support music program to help people with dementia


Michelle Fitzpatrick, Deneale Sanders,  Hannah Jackson, and Emily Lees.
Michelle Fitzpatrick, Deneale Sanders, Hannah Jackson, and Emily Lees.

KARRINYUP students have supported a new music program to help the lives of people living with dementia in their community.

St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School students participated in the Tune into Life program, which involved creating personalised play-lists for people living with dementia to listen to via iPods at Amana Living.

An experienced music therapist was employed to run the program, delivering individual and group music therapy sessions and training Amana Living staff on how to use the playlists effectively.

A 2015 study by the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, found music therapy helped improve dementia symptoms and wellbeing.

Carers involved in the project reported beneficial effects, in particular on mood and emotion, as well as communication, memory, agitation, apathy and anxiety.

St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School is the first Perth organisation to sign-up to the iPod Drive, which aims to help 1000 people living with dementia to take part in Tune into Life.

Amana Living Enrichment Manager Emily Lees music could stimulate parts of the brain affected by dementia.

“Last year’s Tune into Life pilot showed the positive impact that personalised playlists can have on the life of a person with dementia,” she said.

“The clients who took part in the trial were happier and enjoyed better relationships with our staff as well as their loved ones through listening to music together.

St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School Principal Lynne Thomson said she was pleased the students had the opportunity to participate in the program.

“We value this opportunity which enables our students to actively help members of our community, whilst also utilising the technology skills they have acquired,” she said.

“St Mary’s has two Technology Outreach Champions, Deneale Sanders and Hannah Jackson, whose role requires experience with a range of technologies, a passion for working with Seniors and an interest in encouraging other students to support our local community.”

For more information Amana Living Volunteers team on 9424 6335 or volunteers@amanaliving.com.au.