Singing sessions hit all the right notes for Alzheimer's patients
JOINING a singing group is one way that people with Alzheimer's disease can exercise their memories.
And it is also a chance for them to socialise with others and to get support.
A Memory Walk is being held to raise funds to support people with Alzheimer's and dementia
Jean Usher has been running Singing for the Brain in Exeter since October 2006, when a nine- week pilot was so successful that people were adamant she did not stop the sessions.
She said: "We learn new songs and repeat old songs. The whole thing is planned and people find that whereas they cannot remember what day it is or what they had for lunch, they can remember the songs and the words to the songs and it's very empowering.
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"They're proud of themselves, and their carers say they love to see their partners getting so much from the experience.
"I always say rusty voices are welcome. We sit in a circle where everyone is of equal value," she said.
Jean explained how the group could encourage people to come out of themselves.
"We have a lady who came with a carer. At first she hardly interacted with anybody in the group.
"She didn't talk to anybody. She was happy to sit there but didn't join in.
"As time went on she grew more interested. I discovered some songs she really liked and included them. Gradually a smile came over her face and she joined in. She was really taking part.
"The person who came with her said he wouldn't have believed it."
The group has connections with youngsters from the city's Redhills Community Primary School and The Maynard School.
"The children love it and the group love it. They love to be with young people."
Singing for the Brain is part of the Alzheimer's Society, which is running a Memory Walk to raise funds to help people with Alzheimer's and dementia. The two-mile walk takes place in Exmouth on September 6 at 2pm.
For more details, visit www.memorywalk.org. uk. Singing for the Brain resumes at Exwick Parish Hall after a summer break on September 30, from 2pm to 3.30pm. For more details, call 07717 292817 or email exeter@alzheimers. org.uk.