Singing with Dementia is a group based in Salford, which helps people and carers struggling with the symptoms of dementia, including those suffering with Alzheimer’s.
June Smith and Diane Greaves run Singing with Dementia, a music group that helps memory-loss sufferers to recall their happy past through the power of music. The group provides dementia sufferers and their carers with a safe, welcoming place to relax, sing, enjoy music and companionship, and get support.
The group always brings in live musicians to hold their sessions. Experience has taught the group that this works best, as the musicians and singers are able to move around the audience, make eye contact and hand contact, and sing personally to the group’s members. The group also provides support to the members’ carers, including cream teas with games and free raffles, as well as their highly popular pamper days.
June says: “Some members have attended every week since we began in 2010. They say that it is the one bright spot in their lives. They know that they can tell us their innermost fears and problems as we have been there and really understand.
“I had cared for my husband for six years. Being a carer of a loved one suffering from dementia is not easy. You need to know that there is somewhere to go and someone to turn to who will listen, understand and be there for you. I wish there had been a service like Singing with Dementia when my husband was ill.
“We set up Singing with Dementia in Salford to help other carers. Suddenly people who suffer from dementia and may never engage in conversation tap a foot, wave a hand and sing the words of a song long since forgotten that triggers a memory. They become alive through the music. Relatives cry with happiness and astonishment when they see the transformation that the music brings.
“Life can be a nightmare for carers. They never complain. That’s why we do it. We provide a release valve. We give help, advice and support and we laugh and hope that it all helps. I hope my husband would be proud of the end result.”