Seniors sing to slow memory loss
More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's and there's still no cure.But that's not stopping one Chattanooga church from organizing a bi-monthly meeting of folks with Alzheimer's and Dementia and helping them and their caretakers cope through music.
Tuesday, June 10th 2014, 12:30 pm EDT
More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's and there's still no cure.
But that's not stopping one Chattanooga church from organizing a bi-monthly meeting of folks with Alzheimer's and Dementia and helping them and their caretakers cope through music.
It's called "Let's Sing From Memory" and the group meets every second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 10-11:30 at the East Brainerd Christ United Methodist Church. It's open for anyone to attend.
A group of almost 30 seniors and their caretakers sang in unison Tuesday in the musical circle that consisted of people with memory loss. They've been meeting since March and the circle grows each week.
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"If you just want to hum or tap your foot.. It's just about having fun," said Organizer Wayne Evans.
Wayne Evans helps organize the meetings. He got the idea after seeing a BBC documentary called "Singing For The Brain" and knew it could work here at home.
"As we sing these songs, people will join in and sing all the words from memory. It's amazing," he said.
Some of them may not remember everyday details but everyone seems to know the songs, even the ones learning 50 years ago like "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and "Back In The Saddle Again."
"Our oldest memories will survive the longest. Music is often associated with something that happened to us when we were very, very young," said Amy French, manager of programs at education at the Alzheimer's Association. "When an individual who has dementia is exposed to music, participates in music, very often it stimulates parts of their brain that aren't often stimulated. They have a much more rich and in-depth experience, a much more connected experience."
It's not a cure. But it's the first such program in the U.S., Evans said and it's making a difference at home, especially for the caregivers. Evans said it gives them the chance to communicate with their loved one through music.
"They leave with a smile on their face," he said. "Some people say that the person they are caring for doesn't talk all day but when they leave here, they hum and sing the songs all day long."
Nearly one in every three seniors who dies each year has Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
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"Let's Sing From Memory" program Christ United Methodist Church (423) 892-9363