Dancing with seniors
The Governor took to the dancefloor at a music therapy session for seniors.
John Rankin was delighted to attend the event and see the difference it made in the lives of people living with dementia.
He said: “As I saw for myself, music and song can be a really good way of engaging with those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“Improving help and support for those affected is an increasingly important priority as people age across the world. I am keen to do all I can to assist such work here in Bermuda.”
The event at Peace Lutheran Church in Paget was organised by Action on Alzheimer’s and Dementia Bermuda.
It was designed to use music to help seniors living with the conditions.
Elizabeth Stewart, founder of Action on Alzheimer’s and Dementia Bermuda, said music therapy was only one of the activities offered to seniors.
She said: “People really love it and respond. Even when they might have challenges having a conversation, musical lyrics are not forgotten and people can sing a song from beginning to end.
“It also helps physical mobility as individuals get up and dance or move around in their seat.
“Being engaged and social versus being in isolation at home is great for both the caregivers and the person with dementia and the happiness it brings transfers to the remainder of the day — mood and memory can both improve from meaningful engagement.”
Ms Stewart said it meant a lot for the Governor to attend the session as it helped to highlight the charity’s work. She said: “We really want the community to know that even a small charity like ours has a big impact in our community.
“The Governor was familiar with the benefits of music for those living with dementia and his house guest, who also attended, does music therapy in Scotland in care homes and hospitals so it was wonderful to discuss what she does.
“Both of them got stuck right in singing and dancing with all the participants.”
Tony Brannon, who helped to co-ordinate the visit, has been involved in the sessions for about four years.
He said: “Elizabeth Stewart had asked me to come and play some music. I didn’t come right away, but I did go, and I have been doing it ever since.
“I think I was having more fun than the people who come to the sessions. It’s really an amazing experience and people look forward to it every week.”
“Most of the people there are Bermudians, and they are older, so I try to do a selection of stuff like old standards and old calypso, stuff that we know the people would know.”
Mr Brannon added that his grandmother had suffered from Alzheimer’s so he knew the impact it had — and how useful music therapy can be.
He said: “It’s amazing. Music is one of those things that reaches people.”
• For more information, visit alzbermuda.com or call 707-0600
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