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RotaryThe Challenge of Dementia No. 9

Whilst there is, as yet, no cure for Dementia, it is now obvious that someone living with this disease can get a lot worse without proper support and care. Those diagnosed should be helped not to be defined by their dementia. Research is beginning to reveal that stimulating the brain in certain ways can improve the cognitive ability that may have been declining.

The BBC have recently made a documentary ‘Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure’. Vicky gives an account of her grandmother suffering from dementia and Vicky’s desire to help others with the illness. The members of her choir, the majority of whom have all been diagnosed with some form of dementia, are shown to gain something positive from singing and performing.

Kyle Newman, a local professional singer, gave an inspiring talk at our Rotary Club recently. She now runs an initiative called ‘Leicester Musical Memory Box'. LMMB was formerly an Alzheimer’s Society group, Singing for the Brain (SftB), funded by a collaborative charities project ‘Leicester Ageing Together’ (LAT).
The LAT funding ended and now LMMB seeks funding and donations to carry on. LMMB continues to be led by former SftB leader Kyle Newman and colleague Christina Birkby, maintaining this valuable community service for people affected by dementia, other memory problems or simply, loneliness and isolation in the community.

The group uses music, singing, exercise and chat to stimulate conversation, musical memory and fun. Kyle comments “Often we see that confidence is improved, new memories are created and friendships formed”. One paid carer commented to Kyle about the singing sessions, “This is the highlight of my week.”

Meetings are every Monday afternoon from 2 until 3.30pm at the Wolsey residential building off Abbey Park Lane, Leicester.

Although Kyle started in the city she is keen to promote interest in the south of the county. She already also leads a 'Singing for the Brain' group in Blaby. See their Facebook page @WolseySingers. Or to contact Kyle email lmmbox2018@gmail.com.

I am also hoping to form a group called 'DOTS' - Dementia - Optimising The Support. The aim of this group is to literally join up the dots by bringing together the various dementia support groups locally, sharing information and ideas, with a view to providing a comprehensive directory for those seeking help. Please contact me on grahamapt@btinternet.com if you would like to make a contribution.

Click here to read more articles in the series 'The Challenge of Dementia' by Graham Thompson

Graham Thompson
Kibworth & Fleckney Rotary
Issue 412
May 2019

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