Posted on 24/10/2012

Could Singing Groups Help Alzheimer’s?

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Could Singing Groups Help Alzheimer’s?

It has been found that singing groups for dementia sufferers can help improve their quality of life.

Although there is no scientific evidence to back up the theory, it gives sufferers a chance to socialise and can help them to feel better. Anecdotal evidence has shown that dementia sufferers that have taken part in singing groups have generally felt better and happier than those who have not; this has also been noted by their carers.

Charenne Montgomery-Smith of The Alzheimer’s Society, helped to devise ‘Singing for the Brain’ groups in 2003, after noticing a response from dementia sufferers in a nursing home. She explained: “‘I started doing a range of activities in a nursing home. One of them was a quiz game which involved playing similar tunes. Although nobody sang the first week, by the second week a few people were singing and by the third week, everybody was singing.

One lady knew the words to all the songs and she was so proud. This was a lady who didn’t even know her own name. It made me realise that people with dementia have a special ability for remembering songs. It seemed to me a way of giving people confidence.”

A trial song group found that sufferers were able to recall the words to songs and to learn a tune that they’d never heard before. There are now 30 ‘Singing for the Brain’ groups, which are run by The Alzheimer’s Society, and take place throughout the country. They are free and open to anyone that has been diagnosed with dementia.

The groups engage with people, showing them that life is worthwhile. Giving dementia sufferers a sense of a social life and providing them with song is a way of building their confidence and helping them to feel better. Even if sufferers can’t talk, they can still enjoy the environment and can clap along, or tap their feet.

Music and song can be incredibly uplifting and, if such a simple measure can help to improve the lives of thousands of people, it’s most definitely worth implementing some form of music or singing group, be it in a local community centre, church or nursing home.

NRS provide a range of dementia aids, including activity sets and games to help engage dementia sufferers. We provide music and percussion sets so that even those who struggle with mobility and motor skills can get involved and enjoy the activity.

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