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E: kevin@spiritofcreation.com


What's happening now?

The Case: emerging wave of change in 21st century dementia care

With 850,000 people affected by dementia in the UK today, the evidence is that the number of those 'Alive Inside' will soar to over 1m by 2025 and the impact on their carers 'triple-taskers' will grow disproportionately as the population ages. Public and private funding already consumes £29bn a year spanning those in hospitals, care homes and still living in the community. In parallel the power and vast range of new personal technology continues to escalate.

The Challenge - personalised music services

People with dementia struggle to maintain a sense of vitality and connections with their world ('Alive Inside' like Henry) in the face of neurological degeneration. There is much anecdotal evidence of the power of music to improve the condition of those suffering from various forms of dementia claiming some recovery of social skills, communication and emotional wellbeing but support of music as a treatment is limited.

Through collaborative experimentation with carers and people with dementia Spirit of Creation's ambition, led by founder Kevin Gavaghan, plans to develop working models for personalising and scaling-up music to help not one but tens of thousands of Henrys.

'Project Henry'

While 'live' music clearly offers benefits for patients, a programme of 'recorded' music personalised for the listener, offers greater potential for scalability. So, in 2014 - with the benefit of two previous years of researching how to 'Do Dementia Differently' - Project Henry began with a core of gifted volunteers working through Spirit of Creation's 4-stage Collaborative Service Design process.

Spirit of Creation teamed up with artist Beatie Wolfe who had experience of performing to people with dementia in the U.S, Portugal and the UK.  The team, backed by the Utley Foundation, undertook a 4-month programme of research from December 2014-March 2015 to test the Power of Music with 20:20 Research, an independent research agency based in Sheffield in four Priory Care Homes.

After two weeks listening to playlists, the vast majority (73%) of residents were seen to respond to the music in some way and around half became actively engaged with it. Residents relaxed, interacted or engaged in participative activity such as signing or moving/dancing with the music. Improvements continued in communication and memory recall up to two weeks later and worries were reduced.













Henry, a 94-year-old dementia patient, comes to life upon hearing the music of his favourite bandleader, Cab Calloway, in the film Alive Inside.


Spirit of Creation. 95 Roden Court, 115 Hornsey Lane, London, N6 5FD