Conference welcomes Sally Magnusson

Broadcaster Sally Magnusson.

Broadcaster Sally Magnusson.

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Journalist and broadcaster Sally Magnusson has been speaking about the power of music for people with dementia as part of a conference on the condition.

Organised by NHS Grampian, in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland and the three local health and social care partnerships, the conference focused on living well with dementia.

Sally was speaking at the conference in her role as founder and Chair of Playlist for Life.

This innovative organisation aims to provide every person with dementia access to a unique playlist of their life, to help unlock who they are.

Commenting, Sally said: “I started Playlist for Life as a result of my experience of helping my own mother through dementia. I saw first-hand how music was able to soothe her, energise her and bring words to her tongue even in the very later stages of the disease.

“I am delighted to be taking part in this conference, which is focusing on living well with dementia. At Playlist for Life we know music plays a key part in this.”

Alasdair Walker, manager of Grampian Older Adult Mental Health Services, said: “We are all living longer which means many more of us are facing dementia. We expect the number of people in the North East with some form of the disease to double over the next twenty five years.

“That will present a personal challenge to them, their relatives and friends and a logistical challenge to health and social care services as we seek to offer the best care possible.”

Aberdeenshire GP Dr Peter Kiehlmann said: “As generalists, GPs care for the whole person and their family, and are moved by their suffering. GPs are companions on these families’ difficult and life-changing journeys. We aim more than just treat the symptoms of the disease; we want to support people with dementia to live well.

“We also want to make it easier for all of us to talk about dementia. In Grampian, most people get a diagnosis from an older adult mental health team. Some people don’t like this because they are worried about the involvement of a psychiatric service. This is all part of the unhelpful stigma about dementia and mental health or mental illness.

“Over the last four years, we’ve held an educational GP Scholarship Programme which means many Grampian GPs are now comfortable in diagnosing the less complex forms of dementia and, along with colleagues in hospital, social work and charities, we are working together to help people ‘Live Well with Dementia’.”

Henry Simmons, Chief Executive, Alzheimer Scotland said: “I am delighted to be participating in this important dementia conference organised by NHS Grampian. There is a lot of excellent work being done in this area and I am looking forward to listening to everyone presenting. The conference is an important part of ensuring we continue to improve the lives and opportunities of people living with dementia and their families and to make sure nobody faces dementia alone.

“With over 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland, it is our biggest health and social care challenge and it isn’t going to go away. We must up our game to support those people living with dementia and their families today and also invest in the future. I look forward to working with our partners to further support families and carers across the region to live well with dementia.”

The conference will also focus on the support available to patients and their carers and feature posters highlighting best practice across Grampian.