Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Local singing group offers support to dementia patients

Story posted on

LOCAL group, Songs for the Memory, is encouraging people living with dementia and their carers, to come and find out how singing could help their wellbeing.

Music and its impact on people living with dementia has been the subject of a recent BBC television show, ‘Our Dementia Choir’. 

In the programme Bafta-winning ‘Line of Duty’ star, Vicky McClure, formed a choir of people living with dementia. The actor also explored the positive impact music can have with the help of specialists from the fields of medicine, music therapy, and performance.

“If anyone affected by dementia saw the show, we want them to know that similar support is available here in Frome,” said Songs for the Memory treasurer, Janet Knowles, speaking to Frome Times.

“Our group started out as ‘Singing for the Brain’ – an Alzheimer’s Society group that met every two weeks. But around three years ago the charity decided to stop the group, but we felt it was too good to lose. 

“So we took it upon ourselves to keep the group going. The group now runs every week on Wednesdays at the Frome Community Hospital in the Moxon Suite from 2pm to 4pm.

“The first half an hour gives people a chance to have tea and a biscuit and chat with others. Then singing starts with warm up exercises – both vocally and physically. Then we’ll sing songs – some people know, some new ones that we gradually learn over time. 

“Songs for the Memory is for people diagnosed with dementia and carers of people living with dementia. If they are capable, someone with dementia can come on their own, they don’t need to have a carer with them. People living with dementia get the chance to sing and mix with others in a safe space.

“Some people who come don’t say much – but you can see the difference in them when they come.”

“It is good for carers too, it’s an opportunity to join a social group – you can get a lot out of it by talking to other people in the same situation.”

As well as volunteering for the group, which won a Frome Town Council Civic Award for its work in the community last year, Janet visits the group for personal reasons – her husband Bob has dementia and Janet is his carer.

“The group makes a world of difference for the both of us,” explained Janet. “We both used to belong to the Trowbridge Amateur Operatic Group and then the Frome Amateur Operatic Group. Bob quite often took quite big parts in performances. He was always into singing and performing. 

“Although now he can’t sing songs – his communication skills have gone – he still participates in the group, he can sort of sing along, and have a dance. 

“Even at home, music is a help – I’ll put headphones on him and it makes a difference – it calms him down – he sits down and listens to music.

“For me, the group is about meeting others. I get to go out with Bob, meet others in the same boat, and not worry about what Bob is doing.”

Songs for the Memory is free to attend, but the group does welcome donations to help cover the cost of refreshments and the singing leader.

“She is professionally trained and trained by the Alzheimer’s Society,” said Janet, “so she knows what she is doing and what is right for people with dementia.

“We’d love more people to come along to find out if the group is for them.” 

Search for ‘Songs for the Memory – Frome’ on Facebook for more information or email: songsforthememory @gmail.com

Above: Songs for the Memory group at a special celebration of the music of ‘South Pacific’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *