A South Yorkshire charity is bringing joy to the elderly of Crosspool by providing concerts to those suffering from dementia.
Lost Chord run a monthly sing-along at the Cairn Care Home to improve residents well-being and cognitive awareness. The sessions are run by musicians who perform various tracks to stimulate users memories of their youth.
Helena Muller, Chief Executive of the charity, said: “I started Lost Chord because I was bowled over by the impact of music on someone who might be literally slumped on the floor on a beanbag showing no life whatsoever and then suddenly getting responses like their hands moving and mouthing the words.
“I thought this could really work for people with dementia and it spurred me on to apply for funding to start the pilot scheme.”
— Becca Ling (@RebeccaFLing) October 9, 2019
In Crosspool, the October session was run by opera singer Joanne McGahon and pianist Martin Hamer. The pair played a selection of songs, ranging from ‘Singing In The Rain’ to ‘Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag’.
One participant, Phyllis, had a particularly strong reaction to their performance of Edelweiss.
Phyllis said: “It has brought me to tears. My daughter used to sing Edelweiss beautifully.”
This kind of reaction is not uncommon among concert attendees.
Helena said: “You will often find that people are very emotional because it brings back good memories, its joyful tears.
“For people who have no memory, who can’t remember what they’ve just eaten or their own name – to have memories from their past evoked is just wonderful.”
Lost Chord provides 1,300 sessions a year across 130 homes in South Yorkshire and beyond. The group has now spread as far as Cardiff, Coventry and Ipswich.
Opera singer Joanne McGahon said: “The carers often say that the benefits often continue long after we leave the session.
“Sometimes I have people’s families say to me they got their mum or dad back for a little while. It’s really special when people can have their loved ones returned to them.”
Lost Chord is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, marking the event with special performances from patrons Sir Cliff Richard and Lesley Garrett, alongside a Golf Day and half-marathon.
To find out more information about Lost Chord, visit www.lost-chord.co.uk.