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BBC TV show inspires dementia choir at Woodbridge care home

PUBLISHED: 07:54 12 August 2019 | UPDATED: 07:54 12 August 2019

Manager of Glebe House residential home Trish Middleton with resident Marjorie Higgins enjoying the weekly singing sessions. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Manager of Glebe House residential home Trish Middleton with resident Marjorie Higgins enjoying the weekly singing sessions. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Picture: GREGG BROWN

A care home has launched a singing group inspired by the BBC television show Our Dementia Choir.

Volunteers, staff and residents are relishing raising the roof with their favourite songs in the newly formed dementia choir. Picture: GREGG BROWNVolunteers, staff and residents are relishing raising the roof with their favourite songs in the newly formed dementia choir. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Meeting every Tuesday to perform a repertoire of songs, the idea is to raise the spirits of residents at Glebe House in Woodbridge who are coping with the brain condition and improve their general wellbeing.

Trish Middleton, manager at Glebe House, said: "The uplifting effect the choir generates is remarkable. It's brought residents who are usually quiet out of themselves, everyone enjoys singing along and even after the session residents are laughing and smiling all afternoon."

Researchers from the University of Utah discovered that listening to music can play a vital role in increasing brain activity with greater connectivity between the different parts of the brain - as Ms Middleton discovered.

"Residents who are often confused and forgetful suddenly remember every single word of a song they learnt as a child," she said.

Volunteer Cheryl Gray encourages resident Helen Daly to sing her heart out at Glebe House in Woodbridge. Picture: GREGG BROWNVolunteer Cheryl Gray encourages resident Helen Daly to sing her heart out at Glebe House in Woodbridge. Picture: GREGG BROWN

"Many people with dementia are still able to enjoy music and to sing even when they start to lose their language abilities."

The care home has an array of tunes to choose from including favourites such as Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and the classic Wouldn't It Be Loverly from the much loved musical My Fair Lady.

Staff at the care home, alongside volunteers from the community, also take part in the singing sessions to encourage and support the residents in their endeavour to ease the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's.

Resident Marjorie Higgins, 84, lives with the condition and her daughter was astonished to see her mother singing as she is usually shy.

But the choir has given Ms Higgins a new found confidence that has brought her out of her shell.

Ms Middleton agrees that music can play a positive part in stimulating the residents and said: "One of our other residents, 90-year-old Helen Daly, can have bad days where she feels low and tired.

"However, she loves the choir and always looks forward to taking part. The singing seems to energise her. Following the activity, she always has a big smile on her face and her mood is noticeably improved."

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