Multiplier final Event of the European study ‘SOUND’ in Italy

The Multiplier final Event of the European study ‘SOUND’ (, a non- pharmacological intervention for dementia based on music funded by the EU programme Erasmus+ and coordinated by Dott.ssa Sara Santini belonging to the National Institute of Health and Science on Aging- Centre for Socio-Economic Research on Aging (IRCCS INRCA), took place on 14th May 2024 at the Teatrino del Piano in Ancona (Italy).
More than one hundred people attended the event: older people with dementia, family members, voluntary associations, health and dementia care professionals, musicians, singers, music therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, professional educators, students and many young people.

The event was also an opportunity to launch the ‘SOUND: music that breaks the silence of dementia’ awareness campaign. This title was inspired by the words of some caregivers, as one of the main consequences of dementia is social isolation due to the progressive estrangement of relatives and friends, who are sometimes embarrassed to deal with certain unconventional behaviours that the person with dementia might exhibit.

The SOUND trial, which ran for 6 consecutive weeks between October 2023 and February 2024 in Italy, Portugal and Romania, involved 48 people with dementia and 46 dementia professionals. The SOUND consortium  produced five video lessons for family caregivers (but also useful for LCT workers or similar) about how to use music in daily life with a person living with dementia, which can be viewed at this link:

‘SOUND is a study that responds to the urgent need for innovative and humanising measures to counteract the economic and social impact of dementia on the healthcare system,’ said Maria Capalbo, General Director at INRCA. Manuela Caucci, Councillor for Social Services of the Municipality of Ancona, opened the event, highlighting the importance of combining social and healthcare interventions for dementia. The Scientific Director pro tempore at INRCA, Fabiola Olivieri, emphasised how the incidence of dementia is constantly increasing due to the progressive ageing of the population and encouraged researchers to continue carrying out increasingly interdisciplinary research, ever closer to people.

The results of the experimentation, reported by the speakers Sabrina Quattrini (Inrca), Alessandra Merizzi (Inrca), Rita Seneca (ANS) and Rebecca Vellani (ANS), confirmed that, in the older people participating to the SOUND non pharmacological treatment, improvements in wellbeing, cognitive capacity, mood, and a decrease in apathy and anxiety were scientifically measured.
Music could not miss at this Multiplier Event: three choirs joined together to send a message of closeness and support to people with dementia, their families, and dementia care professionals: the ‘Alessandro Orlandini’ youth choir, the ‘Andrea Grilli’ choir, and the ‘Giovan Ferretti’ choir, directed by Maestros Laura Ricciotti and Samuele Barchiesi.

The choristers held the assembly in a resounding embrace, arranging themselves in a circle around the seats to pass on the message that dementia affects everyone and no one should be left alone. What makes this campaign unique is the fact that its multimedia and textual products are based on the direct experience of the older people with dementia and the dementia care professionals who participated in SOUND. ‘The campaign,’ emphasises the study’s scientific director Dr. Sara Santini, ‘wants to be the point of synthesis between science, beauty, art and care’.

The first of these products is the video available at this link, which briefly explains the SOUND study and gives voice to the older people who participated in the trial. A Vademecum has also been produced in 4 languated, which can be downloaded at the link, addressed to managers and directors of public and private services. It aims to provide information on dementia and change the way we look at people with dementia, in order to consciously implement small steps to make shops, services and organisations more welcoming for them.

After downloading the Vademecum, it is possible to access an online questionnaire via a QR code, in order to check whether the contents of the document have been learnt. By filling out the questionnaire the ‘Here we are dementia-friendly’ sticker can be downloaded and displayed in shops, services and in the premises of our organisations.

The SOUND awareness campaign will continue with two Multiplier Events (in Portugal and Romania) and an international conference in Brussels at which musicians from the SOUND consortium will play an unpublished piece composed by Salvatore Petrone for people with dementia, entitled ‘You are not alone’. Music is not only a universal language, but also the healthiest and most incredible medicine.