Sound project: third newsletter is online

SOUND Newsletter 3 – June 2024

SOUND is an Erasmus+ funded project which aims to develop a training curriculum of active and passive music-making activities targeted at social and healthcare professionals and informal carers involved in dementia care. The project also aims to produce an original music-based non-pharmacological intervention to improve the behaviour, mood and quality of life of older people with dementia and delay further cognitive decline for as long as possible.
The SOUND educational programme will seek to address different needs:

  • Those of dementia care professionals, who look for more effective methods and techniques for dealing with dementia patients,
  • Those of informal carers, who need to keep on training and acquiring new competences for better managing their loved ones in everyday life, and
  • Those of older people with dementia who must be listened and understood, should be able to communicate through a universal language, need to maintain their residual cognitive capabilities and seek to improve their quality of life.
Visit the SOUND website for more information

SOUND Intervention: an original non-pharmacological therapy has been applied in Italy, Portugal and Romania

The scientific results are under analysis and they will be available later in the year


The trial conducted in Italy by INRCA and ACMO spanned from October to December 2023, involving 15 older people with dementia (OPDs) and 15 dementia care professionals (DCPs), including psychologists, sociologists, speech therapists, and vocational educators. The participants were divided into two groups, each facilitated by either a singing teacher or a vocational educator, both trained in the SOUND method. Over the course of six consecutive weeks, each group held 12 meetings, which were closely monitored by researchers using scientific tools.

During these sessions, OPDs engaged in various musical activities, such as singing, story-telling with music pieces, dancing, and rhythmic exercises using small percussive instruments from the Orff kit. Throughout the intervention, researchers observed significant changes in OPD’s attitudes, transitioning from mistrust to confidence, apathy to full involvement, stillness to movement, aphasia to singing, and dislike to friendship. Additionally, DCPs were noted to exhibit increased smiles, improved empathy, and enhanced relationships with the patients.

This trial underscores the power of music as a medium to stimulate cognitive, motor, and social faculties in older people while also enhancing the caring and relational skills of dementia professionals. Such interventions should be integrated into every dementia care setting.


The Romanian team, comprising Asociatia Habilitas CRFP and Scoala de Pian, conducted piloting activities for the SOUND project in two care institutions for older people in Bucharest: the Straulesti Care Center in Sector 1 and the Speranta Care Center in Sector 2.

Implementing this new and innovative method required considerable effort, as it demanded both time and a limited number of involved staff.

We worked with a group of 15 older people with dementia, whom we assessed using tests, questionnaires, and individual diaries.

The results exceeded our expectations. Residents eagerly awaited the weekly activities and actively participated with joy, laughter, and good mood. Certain songs, lyrics, and movements evoked memories, enriching the experience for everyone involved.

We take pride in our success and hope to continue these activities to further enhance the quality of life for people with dementia.

An e-learning platform called ‘Virtual Music Circle’ has been developed as a place where dementia care professionals can access the curriculum, exchange ideas and make debate in a Forum.


As a cultural association with a strong focus on music and a history of social inclusion projects, Associação Sons do Estaminé was deeply enthusiastic about the SOUND Project from its inception. We were eager to implement and test the effects of the SOUND methodology, seeing it as an opportunity to further promote well-being through culture and music.

In Portugal, SOUND intervention was tested with 18 OPDs and 15 DCPs from different care facilities: Lar Dra. Leonor Beleza, Lar José Luiz d’Andrade and Casa de Repouso de Real (all three being facilities from Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Santo Tirso); from the Centro Comunitário da Trofa – ASAS, and from the Centro Comunitário Municipal da Trofa.

As the sole national partner for Portugal, we bore full responsibility for all phases and tasks associated with the intervention. This proved to be a demanding and exhausting process, especially considering the extensive evaluation required. Despite the challenges, we are proud to report that the intervention yielded positive outcomes for all involved. Participants expressed satisfaction, enjoyment, and a positive emotional experience during the sessions. Moreover, their feedback during and after the intervention further affirmed the benefits of the SOUND methodology.

Video lessons for informal caregivers of people with dementia on music

The SOUND consortium also developed five video lessons for informal caregivers on how to use music in the daily routine with the older person with dementia. Music can often help handling some behavioural disorders and caregivers’ burden and stress. It may really be a means for taking care of yourself and have a break.
You can download the video lessons here.
They are in four languages: English, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian. Enjoy!

Creating Dementia-Friendly Environments:
The Digital Vademecum

The SOUND consortium is pleased to announce the creation of a digital Vademecum, a vital resource developed as part of Task 4.3 of the SOUND project. Co-designed with family caregivers and professionals, the Vademecum was finalised through stakeholder consultations employing a post-design approach.

  • Empowering Dementia-Friendly Environments

According to the World Health Organization, there are currently over 55 million people living with dementia worldwide, and nearly 10 million new cases each year (WHO, 2021[1]).
Prevalence rates vary across European countries, highlighting the urgent need for dementia-friendly initiatives. As dementia progresses, individuals often withdraw from community activities due to concerns about support, leading to social isolation and diminished quality of life.

  • Why Dementia-Friendly Environments Matter?

Dementia-friendly environments prioritise the well-being of individuals living with dementia, fostering inclusion and reducing social isolation. By accommodating the unique needs of those with dementia, these environments preserve dignity and empower individuals to actively engage in community life.

  • Benefits Beyond Individuals

Dementia-friendly initiatives not only enhance the quality of life for individuals with dementia but also benefit carers and the broader community. They contribute to a more compassionate and understanding society, reduce stigma, and provide a framework for businesses and organizations to adapt to changing demographics.

  • Access the Vademecum

A downloadable version of the Vademecum is available on the SOUND website. Get your copy today and join us in creating supportive and inclusive communities for everyone.

[1] WHO (World Health Organization). Global Status Report on the Public Health Response to Dementia. Geneva: WHO; 2021. p. 2–5

Become a Dementia-Friendly Organisation:
Earn the Dementia-Friendly Badge

Dementia-Friendly Badge

In our ongoing commitment to fostering inclusive communities, we are proud to introduce the “Dementia Friendly Label” initiative. This label will be granted to merchants and service providers who complete our digital Vademecum, respond to a brief questionnaire on dementia, and commit to contributing to more inclusive environments.

How to Obtain Recognition?

  1. Read the Vademecum. Carefully review the digital Vademecum, which provides essential guidelines for creating dementia-friendly environments.
  2. Complete the questionnaire. After studying the Vademecum, please fill out the questionnaire available at the English version, here. This questionnaire will assess your understanding of the rules of conduct necessary to welcome people with dementia and their families into your working environment.
  3. Earn recognition. Upon demonstrating your comprehension of dementia-friendly practices, your organization/shop will be recognized as “dementia-friendly.” This recognition signals to your clients/users with dementia and their families that they will be properly understood and welcomed.
  4. Receive the Dementia-Friendly Sticker. As a recognized dementia-friendly organization, you will receive a badge in both printable and online formats. This sticker can be prominently displayed in your premises and used in your communication and marketing materials to showcase your commitment to inclusivity.

Join us in building inclusive communities

By participating in this initiative, you not only enhance the experience of individuals with dementia but also contribute to the creation of welcoming environments for all members of our community.

Launch of national multiplier events

We are excited to announce the launch of national multiplier events in Italy, Portugal, and Romania as part of the SOUND project. These events will bring together a diverse range of participants, including adult educators, health professionals (such as psychologists, neurologists, occupational therapists, and nurses), musicians, associations representing older people with dementia and their informal carers, social workers, academics in related fields, NGOs, and organizations that may serve as multipliers.

On 14 May 2024, the first national SOUND Multiplier Event took place in Ancona, Italy. The hall was packed with more than one hundred people including older people, family caregivers, health workers, musicians, voluntary associations, music therapists and researchers. The INRCA, ANS and ACMO researchers illustrated the e-learning platform, the contents of the course aimed at dementia operators and the video lessons for family carers. The results of the trial in Italy are very encouraging. The SOUND intervention meaningfully improved the well-being, mood and cognitive functions of older people with dementia, and decreased their apathy and anxiety.

The primary objectives of the events will be to disseminate all the tools developed throughout the project. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in a demonstration of a training session, allowing them to directly experience the methodology and tools developed. Active participation will be encouraged, with attendees having the chance to experiment with the methodologies first hand and hear perspectives from trainers and end-users who participated in the piloting phase.

At the conclusion of the events, all participants will be asked to complete anonymous evaluation questionnaires to provide feedback on their experience. The events are expected to last half a day, with the possibility of being split into two sessions if organised as webinars.