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December 12, 2013 By Andy Ross

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An update on dementia

Our group that uses music and song to give people with dementia and their carers a chance to get out and about is coming to Christmas break. Here is a brief update on the progress we have made and some other interesting things that have recently been in the news...

The group, Musical Memories is co-ordinated by Laura Whittall the Communities Activities Organiser who works alongside Ann Williamson, Alzheimer Scotland's dementia adviser for Shetland. There are a number of activities on offer throughout the islands and ours is one of them. We meet in a local hall in Lerwick and the sessions are open to anyone who wants to come along for some tea and music, instruments and singing. I am very happy to work alongside Alice Mullay, music therapist, and together we provide songs, percussive instruments, some excerpts from films with songs in them, (so far we have had Singing in the Rain, Calamity Jane and The King and I) and have a good old reminisce and yarn. It suits me because I love the old musicals and I also like singing along with Alice. It is especially nice to have people coming back each week to join us and to know that we are making a difference to someone's day by spending time with them and they with us. Huge thanks to everyone who comes along and to Ann, Laura and Alice for making it happen.

This week there has been a lot of news about dementia. The BBC has reported on the G8's decision to cure or treat dementia by 2025, along with a report about the use of a diabetes drug as a possible treatment for Alzheimer's. With the number of cases worldwide set to treble by 2050, groups like ours that use music and the arts to keep people active and mentally agile for longer will become increasingly important.