Eileen’s story

MHA Music Therapy session - image of Eileen

A transformation

Chloe remembers the first times she saw 91-year-old Eileen come out of her first music therapy session at MHA Weston Queensway.  

“She’d transformed into a completely different person,” says Chloe, a carer at the MHA care home where Eileen lives in Stafford. 

Before Eileen went in to the session, she was upset and crying. Nothing the care team said seemed to calm her down. When she came out, Eileen was clapping and smiling, telling staff how she used to go jiving with her husband John. 

“Going into that room helped us see a different side of her and she was able to talk about her past,” says Chloe.

“We can’t eliminate her anxiety completely but we can help to alleviate the symptoms for Eileen, and help her to engage more with what’s happening around her.”

Chloe, 91-year-old Eileen’s carer at MHA Weston Queensway.

Minimising dementia symptoms

She starting talking about her brothers and her family. She started telling us about how she used to do loads of jiving.Seeing that side of her, being able to talk about her past, she has gone into that room.

Described by those who know her as a very affectionate and sociable lady, Eileen is a much-loved resident at MHA Weston Queensway. 

Known for her humour and occasional sarcasm, fun loving Eileen enjoyed a happy life with her husband, John. She would often go jiving with him and her friends. 

Nowadays, Eileen can get quite anxious. Her developing dementia also causes her to feel agitated and upset, so providing reassurance is a big part of her day-to-day care. 

Music therapy helps reduce Eileen’s dementia symptoms, including her anxiety and agitation. It has also improved her overall sense of wellbeing.  

“We can’t get rid of her anxiety,” says Chris Wilson, Eileen’s music therapist. “But we can minimise it enough so that has a knock-on effect on other things, like stimulating her appetite and helping her relax in the afternoons.”

Indeed, on her birthday, Eileen’s family were surprised to see her in such fantastic spirits. They usually visit at different times of the day and had never seen her directly following a music therapy session. They saw the impact of the therapy on her and agreed that it was the Eileen they had known before her dementia.

See Eileen talking about her music therapy in this short video.

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MHA Music Therapy session image with instruments

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MHA Music Therapist session with musical instrument

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MHA Music Therapist session with musical instrument - Dr Ming

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