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Published: 23 October 2013

By Andy Ross

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Alzheimer Scotland

This article has appeared in the Shetland Times about two events for people with Alzheimers, their carers and family. We are very proud to be working with the group and hope that this helps raise awareness of the disease.

New music group to trigger memories

New projects for people with dementia and their carers will be starting shortly, including musical sessions and possibly a choir.

Musical Memories will have its first meeting on Tuesday 29th October in the Baila Room of Sound Hall, Lerwick, and sessions will be held every Tuesday after that.

These will involve group singing, led by tutor Andy Ross and music therapist Alice Mullay.

Alzheimer co-ordinator Laura Whittall said: “An Age Concern study in 2012 found singing benefits the mental health of older people, and songs that stick in your mind release memories. Hopefully there will be enough interest for a ‘Young at Heart’ choir to form and possibly perform at a later date.”

Mr Ross said the sessions will be tailored to suit those attending, but will probably focus on favourite tunes from the war, the 1950s and into the 1960s. He said: “We’re hoping people will be entertained and enjoy themselves, and it will take them out of what they’re experiencing. Music is one of the last things to go and we’re hoping the reminiscences will bring back some of what they knew.”

Mr Ross has been working in care centres for 10 years and said music, along with other arts forms, has “huge short-term benefits” for people with dementia.

Musical Memories will take place between 10.30am to 12.30pm. Ms Whittall will be there from around 10am if folk arrive early – and a cup of tea will be on offer.

Another project will be with quilter Ann Hill, who was involved with the challenge of covering Hampden Park with quilts. She is going to visit Shetland on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd November, and has made a sample memory quilt around Shetland football memories. Jim Peterson, who works with a football reminiscence group, said he has been “blown away” with the quilt and the sentiment around it.

Alzheimer Scotland in Shetland are part of Generations Working Together and plan to record stories and have quilts made to record the history of the Parish Cup and the Lerwick and Scalloway football teams.