The Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain initiative unites people affected by dementia – for which there are more than 10,000 living with the condition in Cornwall – through song.
People with dementia have been worst hit by coronavirus, with many people significantly deteriorating from the knock-on effects of lockdown. Singing for the Brain helps to reduce social isolation, improve quality of life, wellbeing and mood, which the charity says has never been needed more.
Teresa Parsons, Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Connect Local Services Manager, helps to run a number of weekly Singing for the Brain sessions including one in Truro.
She said: “It would be great to see more Singing for the Brain groups established across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
“In my experience, the sessions are always well attended, and you can see from people’s expressions that they are truly engaged in the singing which is good for their wellbeing.
“Over the years I’ve witnessed people’s expressions of joy and happiness when certain songs are played that are special to them. They might not have heard them for many years, but as soon as they do they know every word with no need for a song sheet, even if they are in the latter stages of dementia.”
Alzheimer’s Society is now offering care providers, organisations or individuals across Cornwall, with an interest in music, the chance to run their own group and become a Singing for the Brain delivery partner. They will provide partners with the support and resources to successfully do this.
Alzheimer’s Society, supported by the Utley Foundation, through their Music for Dementia campaign, aims to recruit 80 new Singing for the Brain delivery partners across the UK by the end of this summer.
Singing for the Brain is an uplifting and stimulating group activity for people affected by dementia, built around music and song. Through fun vocal warm-ups, and a variety of familiar and new songs, the music accesses and engages different parts of the brain.
Derek Dodd, Alzheimer’s Society Area Manager, added: “Music memory is often retained when other memories are lost. Singing for the Brain can help people, even in advanced stages of dementia, to tap into long-term memories linked to music and song – for some, this can mean they can communicate through singing when no longer able to do so through speech.
“We have a well-established Singing for the Brain group in the area and we hear how valuable this is to those who attend, even now during the pandemic, where we have adapted to run this service virtually. That’s why we are keen to help others set up a group so even more people can access this popular activity.
“We are changing the way we provide support for people affected by dementia in the community so we can reach more people through delivery partners. We want more people to benefit from our popular Singing for the Brain service.”
To find out more and to register your interest, visit alzheimers.org.uk/