What is it?

The Music Memory Box is a simple kit that you can fill together with meaningful objects, music and photographs. By placing a stick on sensor on any object, like a shell for example – you can link a song to play when you put it in the centre of the box.

The music, familiar object and photograph combine together to help unlock and recall memories in a simple and tactile way. It’s like a personal jukebox. You can add more music to the box anytime with a USB stick.

What’s the process?

Filling the box is a beautiful process within itself. Create a physical photo collage of different times in the box owners life, from childhood up until the present day in the lid of the box. Then start thinking about their life so far, what are the important life milestones? What are the happiest memories they have had in their lives? What is the music that gives them enjoyment? It could be their wedding song, or a song that is their love song with their partner. It could be a song their Mum used to sing to them when they were a child. Find the music that makes the difference and attach to familiar objects. Once set up – the box can be used simply – play a song by putting the object in the centre.

Why is it unique?

Multisensory – Not relying on a single sense, use music, tangible objects and photos all in one place. The multiple senses can work together to recall a story or memory.

Can be customised for the individual – Whether it’s classical concertos, ska reggae or experimental jazz – whatever your music tastes, background and culture – Music Memory Box is open to all and not generalised on age range. Whatever brings the memories back – fill your Music Memory Box with personal and meaningful music customised to the individual.

Simple to use with a tactile interface – By playing music through objects when put in the centre of the box – People living with dementia even at the later stages can use it unassisted, improving independence and choice of when to use it, and is accessible to play their music anytime.

What is the impact?

Families and care workers have reported for the person living with dementia:

Reduced confusion & anxiety
Improved communication
Improved sense of independence & identity
Increased enjoyment
Improved general wellbeing and quality of life

Family members and care workers have reported for themselves:

Greater quality of conversations
Improved communication
Greater connection + enjoyment
Reduced frustration
Improved quality of life

How does it work?

The Music Memory Box is based on innovative practices that are already used in some care homes – music therapy, life story work and reminiscence therapy – however the product wraps them up into one accessible tool so that the practices can complement each other. The Music Memory Box complies with National Institute of Care Excellence Guidelines.

Music Therapy

The link between music and dementia is almost a magical phenomena, but it is well documented and sited. Often pieces of music we have an emotional connection to stay in our memory far longer into the later stages of dementia, than speech or physical abilities. This is because the part of the brain that links emotion, music and memory together, is most spared by Alzheimer’s Disease, this is the part of the brain we are triggering through Music Memory Box. It is these pieces of music that can ‘re-awaken’ quiet, anxious, lost, depressed looking people and instantly transform them into being engaged by smiling, singing, recalling stories and doing lots of dancing.

Life Story Work

Life story work is used in care homes for carers to understand the person they are caring for and with. It is focused on the individuals life story, their hobbies, passions, life milestones, their likes, their dislikes. Using a person centred care approach you can engage people living with dementia individually with their life story in mind. Some benefits of life story work are that the person living with dementia has a greater sense of identity, it can help encourage communication especially around their needs and wishes. It can also help build a stronger connection with family members, as they can learn more about their loved one.

Reminiscence Therapy

While your loved one may not be able to remember the day or what year it is, they are likely to remember their wedding day, a bus trip to the beach when they were young. Living with dementia can often feel like you have a book of your life so far, and you are flipping through it and opening it up at random pages. One moment you could be 15 years old and asking where your Mum is, the next minute you could be 40 and asking where your daughter is. There is something called the ‘reminiscence bump’ which means that most reminiscers living with dementia will likely go back to the ages between 10 – 30, with the late teens and early twenties being the most vivid memories. Physical objects that we have collected through our life can be vital triggers for this reminiscence, as well photographs from different times in your life. Recalling loved memories through tactile objects (like a pebble from a beach) can help everyone including people living with dementia feel happier, more connected, and boost your mood especially if the person is living with depression.