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Living better with Dementia

It is estimated that because of the older age profile of the Irish community there are around 10,000 Irish people with dementia in Britain. Increasingly, reminiscence work and understanding how to help people to live better with dementia is focusing on culturally sensitive support. For people who are born in Ireland or have grown up as part of the Irish community, central to this is their connection to Irish culture, music, song and dance. Comhaltas in Britain continues to recognise the benefits of music for people living with dementia and is proud to have commissioned Dr Josie Nugent in developing the report:

Dementia Patients


This report documents active research on the effects of engagement in the traditional arts (music, cultural songs, storytelling and dance) in the lives of Irish people living with dementia in Great Britain. The project was funded by Comhaltas in Britain, with the support of a grant from the Irish Government, Emigrant Support Program. This report was created following music workshops for older people with dementia in selected care homes and day centres throughout Great Britain in January 2019. These workshops were led by the author, Dr. Josie Nugent - a music therapist and Irish fiddle player, who has developed innovate ways to help older people with dementia reengage through the use of cultural songs and dance music. 

The richness of findings from the four centres visited for this research project resulted in the creation of a programme titled Engaging Through Irish Traditional Arts for the Irish Diaspora with Dementia for Comhaltas in Britain. The programme has been designed, with an emphasis on a person-centred approach, to meet the social and emotional needs of people in dementia care and to be delivered by traditional artists, who need not have therapeutic expertise. 

Comhaltas in Britain continues to actively support those living with dementia, their families and carers. We have provided training for our volunteers on understanding dementia better and support the Irish in Britain: Cuimhne - Irish Memory Loss Alliance which offers training, workshops, support and understanding for the community and carers of those living with dementia and memory loss.

Prior to COVID-19 we have worked in a number of care settings around Britain which provide services to older Irish people and we look forward to being able to restart this work in the future.

For more information on how Comhaltas in Britain is able to support older Irish people who maybe isolated, vulnerable, living with memory loss or living in a care home setting we would be happy to hear from you. E-mail

To download a copy of the full report (pdf) please click here.
If you would like to receive a hard copy of the report please contact us.

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