Actress Vicky McClure from Line of Duty fame shows the huge impact music can have on people living with dementia in a moving BBC documentary, where she puts together a choir made up of people with dementia aged from 31 to 87.
he two-part documentary ‘Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure’ focusses on the science and why music and singing are so stimulating for the brain.
Vicky McClure’s grandmother was diagnosed with vascular dementia at the age of 75. Ms McClure along with her mum cared for her grandmother and saw first-hand how singing and music calmed her. Now, she has joined forces with some of the country’s leading experts to measure the emotional and physical responses of Vicky’s choir, as they prepare to put on a major performance.
Ms McClure told the BBC: “I watched Nana being taken by dementia and I watched her personality slowly fade away and it’s one of the hardest things to watch a family member go through.
“I also saw how music helped change her mood, calming her down and for a while bringing us back the old Nana.”
According to The Open University, evidence suggests that music therapy can relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression for people living with dementia and may lead to some improvement in their awareness. This research suggests music therapy can be used to communicate with someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Many people associate particular songs with major events; leaving school, meeting a partner, falling in love, getting married or forming a civil partnership.
Listening to music can cause both emotional and physical reactions – it can speed up heart rate and breathing – or slow them down and help people relax.
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