Students in tune with dementia patients’ needs

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
Busselton Geographe Bay Rotary Club president Chris White (front) with students and staff Jace Iriks, Denham Stewart, Tamara Clark, Katrina Wilson, Debbie Carroll and Kieran Smith.
Camera IconBusselton Geographe Bay Rotary Club president Chris White (front) with students and staff Jace Iriks, Denham Stewart, Tamara Clark, Katrina Wilson, Debbie Carroll and Kieran Smith.

Students at Busselton’s St Mary MacKillop College have teamed up with the local Rotary club in a project to improve the lives of dementia patients with music therapy.

Funds raised by the students and a donation from the Rotary Club of Busselton Geographe Bay have enabled the project to begin with the purchase of 40 audio headsets.

The students, under the guidance of teacher Tamara Clark, downloaded music onto the headsets for distribution to dementia patients in Busselton’s aged care facilities. Music is being recognised worldwide as a valuable aid in the care of the elderly and is now the subject of a global study, led by the University of Melbourne, into the use of music therapy to treat people with dementia and depression. Rotary Club president Chris White said the project’s goal was to provide a better life for patients, carers and families.

“Families and friends help to organise a selection of music and songs, based on their knowledge of the patient’s earlier-life musical preferences, which can be played back to them on demand,” she said.

“Staff and students from St Mary MacKillop College saw the benefits of these programs and decided to implement a project in Busselton, with assistance and co-ordination from our club.” St Mary MacKillop College teacher Ms Clark said it was a great experience for the students to gain awareness of the impact of dementia and the benefits music could bring.

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