September is World Alzheimer’s Month and to mark the occasion in 2019, MindCare Dementia Support in Beckenham launched a pilot Dementia Choir.
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. Supporting local people at various stages of all types of dementia, MindCare created its Dementia Choir after more than 18 clients said they would like to take part.
MindCare has involved its clients in music, singing and dance in its Dementia Activity Centres over the years, seeing the positive impact on people living with dementia. Research studies have shown how singing can boost brain activity in Alzheimer’s patients and a documentary from 2014 highlighted the power of music to help people with dementia communicate and access memories.
MindCare recruited five volunteers with experience in singing and music from the local Bromley community, to lead the dementia choir sessions alongside staff.
Linda Brown is in one of the MindCare Dementia Choir volunteers. She sings with the London Concert Chorus and, over the last 10 years, they have raised thousands of pounds for Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich Mind performing at the annual Christmas Concerts.
“My husband who has Frontotemporal dementia, attends the Beckenham MindCare centre twice a week and I know first-hand what singing can do to improve wellbeing,” said Linda.
“There is always a sense of achievement when people sing together in a group or a choir and a sense of belonging. Recent research shows that singing can increase self-confidence and can be a vital link to the past, unlocking memories for people living with dementia. Even if people with dementia are unable to speak, they can often still sing and remember all the words from the old songs.”
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Saira Addison, MindCare Manager, said, “The dementia choir is about helping people living with dementia connecting with others, developing existing or new skills and maintaining their overall wellbeing. Being part of group activity like this can also give a person a sense of belonging and having a purpose. We are proud to be the only dementia specialist centre in Bromley borough and always looking to run engaging and innovative activities to support local people and their carers to live with dementia.”
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