People who couldn’t talk because they were affected by dementia have regained the ability to sing thanks to a song by The Farm.
Hundreds of care home residents across Merseyside have seen the results in a project with The Brain Charity.
The Music Makes Us! project combines singing and dance lessons with physiotherapy, speech and language therapy.
Music activates different parts of the brain than speech, it releases endorphins but also it can transport people living with dementia to moments in their pasts.
The Farm’s 1990 anthem ‘All Together Now’ helped participants who couldn’t talk at the start of the programme to begin to sing.
Not only this, but others with severe mobility problems were able to dance along to The Beatles.
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The Brain Charity have now launched this resource as a free 12-week online video programme that can be used by anyone.
Kym Ward, Dementia Project Coordinator at The Brain Charity, said: “We understand the past year has been especially tough for people living with dementia.
“We also know music can play a vital role in their daily care – it stirs memories and reduces agitation.
“That’s why we are delighted to be releasing this free, innovative music-based therapy series for people from anywhere in the world to take part in.
“Pre-COVID-19, our care home workshops were incredibly beneficial to hundreds of people across Merseyside living with dementia.
“It was truly remarkable to see first-hand how participants who had previously been non-verbal began to sing along, along, and those with severe dementia who struggled to engage with the world enjoyed moments of joyful connection with others through dance.
“So, we hope these videos will give easy access to this fantastic resource for households, care homes and people living with dementia across the UK and beyond.”
The unique programme includes five ‘Move’ and seven ‘Sing’ classes which are set to classic songs – the combination of dance and physiotherapy is proven to minimise the risk of falls and trips.
Before the pandemic, these sessions were able to help nearly 250 people in care homes and community settings across Merseyside.
Now the charity is hoping that with the workshops being available online that over double the number of participants will be able to take part from across the UK.
Participants will receive a weekly email including a specialist exercise video and guidance on how to join in safely, they will also be able to consult The Brain Charity’s physiotherapist and speech and language therapist about any issues faced.
Another version of the programme is available for those without an official diagnosis who might benefit from the effects.
The course has been proven to improve wellbeing and reduce anxiety for participants and those around them.
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Kym added: “During the lockdowns, The Brain Charity assisted with research studies which revealed being unable to access support service due to COVID-19 worsened quality of life for those affected by dementia in the UK.
“So it is vital now more than ever that as many people as possible know about this free support – we have already seen its incredible benefits first hand.
“We hope this resource will be useful for loved ones at home, for residents in care homes and, when it’s safe again, for participants in community settings.”
The programme Music Makes Us! is funded by Quilter Cheviot.