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Sing-a-long sessions help dementia sufferers in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 13:29 09 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:41 02 July 2010

The Alzheimer's singing session led by Heather Edwards at Leyham Court in Bowthorpe

The Alzheimer's singing session led by Heather Edwards at Leyham Court in Bowthorpe

Mary Hamilton

Special sing-a-long sessions are helping people living with dementia in Norwich.

Special sing along sessions are helping people living with dementia in Norwich.

The Alzheimer's Society runs monthly sessions in Norwich to help enrich the lives of dementia sufferers and is now looking to open a new group in Dereham.

The “Sing Together” sessions at Leyham Court, in Bowthorpe, attract about 20 people each month to sing old favourites and songs from musicals.

Maureen Guest, 66, of Hethersett, who was diagnosed as having Alzheimer's three years ago, said: “I absolutely love our sessions. It really cheers me up and we have such fun. It's a joy.”

Paul Dunnery, area manager for the charity, said the sessions could be uplifting for people with dementia and their carers alike.

“It's great to see everyone enjoying themselves and they look forward to our sessions immensely,” he said.

“Singing is a wonderful way of promoting well-being - it lifts the mood, removes stress and makes people feel better and happier.

“It's amazing how, when other memories start to fade, songs loved from younger days remain.

“And of course from a social point of view, it means they and their carers can get together, swap stories and help support each other.”

The sessions also illustrate the theme of the Department of Health's new 'Living Well' campaign, which includes TV adverts raising awareness of dementia and the simple things individuals can do to help with the condition.

Alzheimer's Society figures show that there are nearly 10,000 people currently living with dementia in Norfolk, and the figure is expected to rise to 14,500 by 2021.

But a recent poll commissioned by the Department of Health revealed that one in three people say they would “find it difficult to spend much time with someone who has dementia”, and more than half of those surveyed said they did not know enough about the illness to help someone who has it.

To find out more about dementia visit www.nhs.uk/dementia or call 0300 123 1916. People wanting to find out more about the singing sessions, should contact the Alzheimer's Society on 01603 763517.

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