Dementia charity offering lifeline of support in Swindon

By Jessica Durston - 16 June 2022

  • Ray and Margaret Hylton at Singing for the Brain

    Ray and Margaret Hylton at Singing for the Brain

The charity Alzheimer's Society says people affected by dementia in Swindon can now receive vital support and information in person.

Alzheimer’s Society are welcoming new members to their groups which are back to full strength following temporary closures a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The groups include:

  • Singing for the Brain at Freshbrook Community Centre. Every Monday 10.30am – 12pm.
  • Singing for the Brain at St. Paul’s Church & Community Centre, Covingham. First and third Thursday of every month 2pm – 3.30pm.
  • Memory Café - Olive Tree Café, Manor Garden Centre, Cheney Manor. Second Thursday of every month 10.30am – 12pm.

The charity says anyone affected by the condition is welcome to visit any of the groups. People keen to attend are asked to contact the Group Co-ordinator in advance. Those interested can phone Karen Owen on 07512 716473 or email to register interest.

Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain brings people affected by dementia together to meet in a fun, friendly and supportive environment. Uniting people affected by dementia through song, it aims to help to reduce social isolation, improve quality of life, wellbeing and mood.

Susan Forde, who goes to Singing for the Brain with her mum said: “Mum enjoys the odd song and seems to enjoy seeing people she recognises each week, particularly Dave who leads the singing. I really enjoy chatting to other carers and volunteers and organisers and love a song.

“Although mum is very quiet and seems non plussed during sessions, she is brighter and more engaged for days after and always relays details of the session to my sister (her main carer) she also sings more at home since going. I get a sense of community and really benefit in sharing an activity with my mum.”

The Singing for the Brain groups in Freshbrook and Covingham are said to provide an uplifting and stimulating activity for people affected by dementia, built around music and song. Through fun vocal warm-ups, and a variety of familiar and new songs, the music accesses and engages different parts of the brain.

Alzheimer's Society say music memory is often retained when other memories are lost. Singing for the Brain can help people, even in advanced stages of dementia, to tap into long-term memories linked to music and song.

Margaret and Ray Hylton from Covingham attend the Freshbrook Singing for the Brain group.

Margaret said: “We like to get out of the house every day and this is a lovely opportunity to have a bit of fun and the company of people in a similar situation. You always leave a session feeling happy and uplifted.”

“We love singing it smooths your lumps and bumps away”, adds Ray.

Alzheimer’s Society Memory Café, held at the Olive Tree Café, provides a relaxed and supportive social environment for people affected by dementia and offers a selection of different activities. An experienced member of staff from Alzheimer’s Society leads the group, assisted by a team of dedicated volunteers.

Alzheimer’s Society’s Group Co-ordinator Karen Owen explains more: “Our groups allow people to get together over a cup of tea or coffee and chat to others in a similar position to themselves.

“Dementia is a condition which affects more than 2,700 people in Swindon. We support people affected by dementia through some of the hardest and most frightening times, to improve their lives and help to avoid crisis.

“We want everyone affected by dementia to know that whoever you are, whatever you’re going through, you can turn to Alzheimer’s Society for expert support through practical advice, emotional support, and guidance for the best next step.

“We’d love to see some new faces at our groups, and I’d like to encourage anyone affected by dementia to get in touch to find out more about these services.”

The Alzheimer's Society says support and more information about dementia is just a phone call or a click away.

Members of the public can visit or call 0333 150 3456. For callers who do not have English as their language of choice, Alzheimer’s Society can arrange a simultaneous language translation service.

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