More than 80 new Singing for the Brain groups are to be created thanks to funding from the Utley Foundation, helping to reach 2,400 more people with dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society and Utley Foundation have formed a strategic partnership through the Music for Dementia campaign, to enable more groups to be set up across the UK.
The funding will allow 2,400** more people with dementia and their carers to take part in the singing sessions. The regular gatherings offer important brain activity, a sense of routine and much-needed social contact, as they face the impact of being isolated and alone during lockdown.
The pandemic has hit people with dementia the hardest, with over a quarter of all deaths due to coronavirus accounted for by people with dementia. There are also an additional unexplained 52% increase in deaths above normal, unrelated to the virus, likely due to combination of social isolation and the interruption of normal health services.
Singing for the Brain groups keep people with dementia connected, engaged with others, and are a way for people with dementia and carers to interact remotely in virtual singing groups. Sessions bring people affected by dementia together to sing a variety of songs they know and love, with fun vocal exercises that help improve brain activity and increase wellbeing.
Since lockdown, Alzheimer’s Society has moved the Singing for the Brain sessions online, developing over a hundred singing groups that improve the lives of thousands of people with dementia across the UK on a weekly basis. Singing for the Brain Live, held at the end of April, streamed a session live on Facebook, joined by Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Vicky McClure and hundreds of people affected.
Neil Utley, Founder and Trustee of the Utley Foundation said: “Music is so crucial to the wellbeing of people living with dementia, which is why we set up our Music for Dementia campaign and why we are so pleased to be able to fund this work by Alzheimer’s Society and their Singing for the Brain initiative.
“It is shocking to see the impact that COVID-19 has had on people with dementia and giving more than 2,000 people access to this successful service will enable them to regularly experience that connection and mood lift that comes with musical interaction.”
Helen Foster, Director of Operations for Alzheimer’s Society said: “We are delighted and excited that this donation from the Utley Foundation allows us to bring Singing for the Brain to so many more people affected by dementia. They have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, and it is vital that we can adapt our usual face-to-face services to ensure people with dementia know they aren’t alone during the crisis, and that support is available.
** Based on approx. 30 members per group. Group sizes range from 20-70.