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Why is Singing for Memories important and what do we do?

Singing and music has been shown to often have a positive effect on people who have dementia. As the memory diminishes and communication becomes more difficult music has the power to soothe, stimulate and bring to mind long-forgotten memories.

One of our members was looking for somewhere for his wife, who has dementia, to join others in a singing group. As there was nothing available locally we decided to investigate the possibility of setting up a group ourselves.

The key objective is to provide an activity which will enable people with dementia and their carers to have fun remembering the songs from their younger days. Even if people cannot sing there are several percussion instruments which they can use to make their own sound and join in.

The sessions start with some basic breathing and gentle exercise to get everyone ready to sing. There is a range of different songs, some from printed hand-outs, some done purely from memory, some action songs and the opportunity for people to choose what they’d like to sing. Half way through there is a break for a drink and a chat before going on to finish the afternoon’s routine.

One of the carers explained that her mum enjoys the sessions so much that every time they pass the venue where we hold the group she wants to go in. Another mentioned that someone they care for has no spoken language but it is obvious to all that she thoroughly enjoys herself in the group.

The charity Playlist for Life encourages families and carers of a person with dementia to create a playlist of uniquely meaningful music. See their website for more information.

An article in The Guardian newspaper in July 2017 highlights the power of music and song for those with dementia, and is well worth reading here.

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