Get singing to help people affected by dementia

The RVS said age is no barrier when it comes to performing together.''Student Heather McDermott pours tea for dementia ambassador Muriel Hick. The pair took part in a intergenerational choir in Chapel Allerton. '''Picture by Tony Johnson

The RVS said age is no barrier when it comes to performing together.''Student Heather McDermott pours tea for dementia ambassador Muriel Hick. The pair took part in a intergenerational choir in Chapel Allerton. '''Picture by Tony Johnson

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THE POWER of music is being used to prove “age is no barrier” when it comes to friendship and helping people with dementia to connect to those around them.

The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) has launched a new campaign to get people singing to help thousands of older people across Yorkshire affected by dementia.

Research shows that music has the power to help those with the illness, by stimulating and unlocking people who may be removed from the present through their illness. Singing can also help to recall memories and emotions, and even enhance mental performance, the charity said.

The charity helps run three dementia friendly choirs in Leeds, including one at Meanwood Elderly Neighbourhood Action (MENA), who meet in Chapel Allerton. There, members of an intergenerational theatre group, which brings together students with older people, recently put on a production featuring a dementia choir. The choir will next month perform at Leeds Art Week to raise awareness of the RVS’s new campaign, Sing Your Heart Out.

Natasha Mort, the RVS operations manager for Leeds and West Yorkshire, said: “When you hear a song, it can bring back all sorts of memories, from what you wearing at the time you heard it for the first time, where you were, even smells. It’s incredibly powerful for people with dementia.

“Music covers all ages - it’s not a skill you might lose as you age, and it brings people together. And at our intergenerational choirs, we find that people have a lot more in common than they think. Age is no barrier to friendship.”

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