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Music’s power to ‘unlock memories and emotions’ helps in dementia treatment, survey suggests | UK News

The power of music to treat dementia has been further reinforced by a new survey.

In a collaboration between the charity Music for Dementia and the keyboard manufacturer Casio, more than 100 dementia patients were enrolled in six months of musical therapy.

Care homes were sent specialised keyboards that allowed residents to play along to their favourite songs in the presence of a musical therapist.

At the end of the six-month period, 79% of musical therapists reported their patients showed improved memory and recall, and more than 70% saw reductions in anxiety and depression.

The survey builds on a number of recent scientific studies, such as one published in the Lancet earlier this year.

It found that music had a clinically significant impact on reducing depression and other symptoms in care home residents suffering from dementia.

There are several reasons music may be an effective method of treatment.

Clare Barone, musical therapy lead at Methodist Homes, said: “From a therapeutic perspective, music can touch emotions, unlock memories, and the two go hand-in-hand really.

“So positive memories can just bring somebody alive, reminiscence, positive wellbeing, the engagement in something, a meaningful activity – like we saw with Jill – playing the keyboard actually brought back memories of her children and playing in the past and the importance of that song for her.”

Jill is an 82-year-old resident living with moderate-stage mixed dementia.

Over the course of her treatment, she saw a marked cognitive improvement, going from being able to recognise and whistle along to a familiar melody, to playing parts of it with the keyboard’s assistive technology.

During a demonstration for Sky News, Jill played much of the piece before admitting with a wry smile: “I don’t know how the hell I did that.”

Grace Meadows, campaign director at Music for Dementia, said: It’s innovative, creative initiatives like this which demonstrate how easy it can be for carers to make music a part of good dementia care.

“We would like to see this programme rolled out nationwide as a way of supporting carers to provide the best possible personalised care for those living with dementia.”

In April, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries backed a plan to create a “power of music commissioner” to promote the benefits of music in a variety of healthcare settings.

The political will, it appears, is there, if it can survive the imminent arrival of another new Conservative administration.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel: Family and friends of Liverpool shooting victim share ‘heartbreaking’ photos, videos and memories of ‘one in a million’ schoolgirl | UK News

The heartbroken family, community and friends of Olivia Pratt-Korbel have shared memories of the playful Liverpool schoolgirl as they described her as “one in a million” and “a little ray of sunshine” with a “heart of gold”.

Her family on Wednesday evening released three photographs of the nine-year-old, while relatives also shared images and videos of her smiling and playing.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel
Olivia Pratt-Korbel
Olivia Pratt-Korbel

Olivia was killed by a masked attacker who had chased convicted burglar Joseph Nee, 35, into her terraced home in Kingsheath Avenue, in the Dovecot area of the city, on Monday night.

Her mother Cheryl Korbel, 46, was shot in the wrist as she tried to close the door on the gunman, who fired indiscriminately into the house.

Olivia was fatally shot by the same bullet as she stood behind her.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel latest: Police ‘bare teeth’ with arrests in gun crime crackdown – but manhunt continues

Teddies and flowers with written tributes have since been left near the youngster’s home, with one reading: “A precious little angel taken too soon. God bless. Sleep tight Olivia.”

More than £18,000 has also been raised to help her grieving family.

The GoFundMe page reads: “We are raising to help the family with this tragic loss. We can’t imagine the pain they’re all going through and want to help in any way we can. Let’s give this little angel the send-off she deserves.”

Flowers are left near to the scene of an incident in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, Liverpool, where nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel was fatally shot on Monday night. Picture date: Thursday August 25, 2022.

Olivia’s cousin Luke Korbel described her as “one in a million” and “the most funniest and politest” girl who “always had a smile on her face”.

He also shared online photographs and videos of Olivia, including one of her opening a Christmas present and exclaiming: “Guess what I got?”

In another clip, he got her to say phrases at the camera including “our kid”, “cheese” and “vote Labour”.

In a later social media post he wrote: “I’m stuck in a dream… heartbreaking isn’t the word for it.”

“Hearing everyone’s stories that they had with you, seeing pictures on near every post or notification, it just doesn’t feel real,” he continued.

He added that he hoped Olivia was “riding your bike high up there just like you would of always been doing”.

“I love you cuz. We won’t stop fighting ever, forever our little angel.”

Olivia went to St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School in Huyton, where she was thought of as a kind-hearted, helpful and happy little girl.

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‘Olivia was a little ray of sunshine’

“Olivia was a little ray of sunshine,” headteacher Rebecca Wilson told Sky News.

“She was bubbly. She had a little heart of gold. Nothing was too much trouble for her.

“She loved to help the teachers – she was the life and soul of the class.”

She described hearing of Olivia’s death as “an incredibly difficult day” which she said has left staff and pupils in “shock” and “absolutely devastated”.

“Olivia was a much loved member of our school. She had a beautiful smile, a lovely sense of humour, and a bubbly personality,” she added in a statement.

“She was kind-hearted and would go out of her way to help others.

“She loved to perform and recently participated in the school production of The Wizard Of Oz.”

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‘Four weeks ago, Olivia was in my son’s school play’

Skylar Conway, who described herself as Olivia’s best friend, also recalled her love of performing and said the girls used to play “truth or dare”.

“I’d give her a granny wig, and a top and jacket to put on, with a granny stick,” she told Sky News.

“She used to love playtimes.”

Skylar added: “She was quite small and she was funny… that’s how I remember her.”