Singing in virtual dementia choir has lifted couple’s spirits during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 16:30 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:52 16 April 2020

Ely couple Susan and Laurie Chapman say that being able to sing in Dementia Sing, a virtual choir run by Kathryn Rowlands of All in Sound, has lifted their spirits during lockdown and given them something to look forward to each week. Susan, 68, has been isolating with her husband Laurie, 72, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Picture: MUSIC FOR DEMENTIA

Ely couple Susan and Laurie Chapman say that being able to sing in Dementia Sing, a virtual choir run by Kathryn Rowlands of All in Sound, has lifted their spirits during lockdown and given them something to look forward to each week. Susan, 68, has been isolating with her husband Laurie, 72, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Picture: MUSIC FOR DEMENTIA

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An Ely couple say that being able to sing in a virtual dementia choir has lifted their spirits during lockdown and given them something to look forward to each week.

Ely couple Susan and Laurie Chapman say that being able to sing in Dementia Sing, a virtual choir run by Kathryn Rowlands of All in Sound, has lifted their spirits during lockdown and given them something to look forward to each week. Susan, 68, has been isolating with her husband Laurie, 72, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Picture: MUSIC FOR DEMENTIA
Ely couple Susan and Laurie Chapman say that being able to sing in Dementia Sing, a virtual choir run by Kathryn Rowlands of All in Sound, has lifted their spirits during lockdown and given them something to look forward to each week. Susan, 68, has been isolating with her husband Laurie, 72, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Picture: MUSIC FOR DEMENTIA

Susan Chapman, 68, has been isolating with her husband Laurie Chapman, 72, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Laurie usually attends Dementia Sing in Ely, run by Kathryn Rowland of All in Sound, with his carer Hayley. However, since the lockdown began this hasn’t been possible.

Susan and Laurie have instead been taking part in the group singing sessions virtually while at home.

They have found that music has alleviated Laurie’s symptoms, whilst also providing some light relief for Susan, in a time of heightened anxiety.

Susan said: “When the coronavirus lockdown started I was really worried that Laurie would start to deteriorate and lose more abilities quickly.

“However, Kathryn set up the Dementia Sing group on Zoom, which has meant that everyone in the group gets to see each other and chat as well as sing together.”

“It has been really wonderful to see how everyone who has dementia comes alive singing and how they react to each other as friends.

“It is also great for us who have to care for our loved ones with dementia because it is an activity we can share and have a lot of fun with.”

“It also means that during this period of social isolation we have an anchor to our week - it really is something we look forward to and at least one day when we get to meet up online with others and enjoy singing and joking. It really lifts your spirits.”

Kathryn Rowland, All In Sound’s director, was interviewed on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and said: “As soon as Boris Johnson announced the lockdown I thought to myself ‘we can’t stop this’ because each week I see the importance of it.

“We use Zoom, an app where people can dial in on a Monday morning - we have a chat and a catch up so we can sing and keep connected. We’ve also got people calling to join from London and Belgium. It’s becoming international now, which is fantastic.

Having received a grant from Cambridgeshire Community Foundation to potentially run another session in the week, or help people with their use of technology.

Anyone living with dementia can get involved and their carers too.

For more information call Kathryn on 01353 662022 or email kathryn@allinsound.co.uk.

You can also donate to the group’s fundraiser here.

• The dementia choir is being supported by Music for Dementia 2020 - a campaign set up by BBC radio DJ Lauren Laverne that is urging music services that are moving online to get in touch so they can be added to the digital ‘musical map for dementia’. • The aim of the campaign is to make music available for everyone living with dementia and a a guide has recently been launched to help the near one million people living with dementia who are experiencing increased anxiety during the lockdown.

For more information about Music for Dementia click here.


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