Choir strikes the right note at Sanctuary home

The healing power of music is being felt by people living with dementia at an Oxfordshire care home.

Residents, staff and loved ones have clubbed together to form a choir for the benefit of residents at Sanctuary Care’s Iffley Residential and Nursing Home.

Iffley’s Activities Leader Rachel Bearn, who has a background in musical theatre, said: “Music unlocks parts of the brain that may have been lost. We have seen an amazing difference in our residents living with dementia.

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“Residents who are less able to communicate verbally because of their dementia are suddenly singing whole songs and remembering all the words. We have some residents who find it hard to speak but when I start to sing their eyes light up. It is so special for their loved ones who have noticed a big difference and it makes them so happy to see their mother or father joining in.”

Kathryn Smith, Director of Operation at the Alzheimer’s Society, which has over 300 Singing for the Brain groups across the country, said: “Many people with dementia are still able to enjoy music and to sing even when they are starting to lose their language abilities, which is something that has been highlighted by the wonderful choral project at Sanctuary Care’s Iffley home.

“We know that singing can help people with dementia communicate, improve their mood, and leave them feeling good about themselves. Singing for the Brain groups can provide a way for people with dementia, along with their carers, to express themselves and socialise with others in a fun and mutually supportive environment.”

The Iffley choir is the brainchild of home manager Sue Stubberfield.

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