Dementia choir aims to ease depression and anxiety

A new choir has been launched for people with dementia to join in a bid to help ease their depression and anxiety. The power of music has long been found to have a positive effect on those in cognitive decline and the group will provide a safe space for socialising and singing.

The first session of the Gloucester Dementia Choir has already been held and had a focus on Christmas songs. With a history of working in care homes with the elderly, the Gloucestershire Academy of Music set up the choir to spread joy even further.

Jenny Harrison and Becky Chevis spotted a gap in provision of musical experiences for older people with dementia and decided to do something about it. They are the driving force behind the venture, according to the BBC.

Ms Harrison told the news provider: "Music evokes a lot of emotions, and it allows those living with the condition to reminisce. When you play a song that they used to listen to 40 years ago, they come to life, remember those words and find their voices to sing those words.

"Music is a really powerful tool for people with dementia and we want to utilise that."

The Gloucester Dementia Choir is not exclusively for those with the disease, but also their friends and family too. It represents an opportunity for carers to enjoy some quality time with loved ones away from the stresses of daily life.

Starting on January 13th, the choir will meet every two weeks and begin to build up a routine and hopefully establish regular members. After the success of the first session, when a dementia sufferer stood up and sang a solo, the initiative is off to a strong start.

Ms Chevis said: "There is some amazing research about music and dementia - we know it can help ease depression and anxiety amongst those living with the condition. The first session has really proven that music can make people happy and provided that lovely feeling of being together with each other.

"It has been an absolute success and we look forward to the new year."

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, some 900,000 people are currently living with dementia in the UK and this figure is set to rise to 1.6 million by 2040. There’s no cure for the disease at present, but scientists are working towards one as they discover more about its causes.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Bogomil Mihaylov