Music Therapy Session To Mark Alzheimer’s Day

September 21, 2023 | 0 Comments

[Written by Stephen Wright]

Action on Alzheimer’s and Dementia [AAD] will celebrate World Alzheimer’s Day with their popular roster of events at the Peace Lutheran Church in Paget today [September 21].

Part of Alzheimer’s Month – a global campaign to create awareness about the misconceptions of dementia and Alzheimer’s – the event includes Music for Memories with local musician Tony Brannon from 11 am until noon and Chair Yoga with Jacqueline from 1 pm to 2 pm.

People are encouraged to wear purple for the day to show support for individuals and families affected by the disease.

For the past decade, Mr Brannon has been strumming his guitar and singing songs during musical therapy sessions for AAD, a Bermudian charity launched by Elizabeth [Liz] Stewart in 2012.

“Liz kept asking me to come and play music [at the sessions], and I finally went,” Mr Brannon told Bernews. “It’s been a lovely thing to do.”

Mr Brannon, who performs twice a week at the church, has no doubt music has emotional and behavioural benefits for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“Some of the people who attend the sessions don’t remember seeing me the day before, but when I start playing a song, they remember every single word,” he said.

“Cognitively, music is one of the last things to leave people.

“We have one guy who comes and plays the congas. He doesn’t say too much, but when he plays, he’s perfectly in time and sits in the groove.”

Mr Brannon, whose grandmother died from dementia in 1979, said the joy in the room is tangible when everyone joins in with songs they recognise, which he carefully selects.

“We hand out percussion instruments – tambourines, maracas – so everyone can play along,” he said.

“The caregivers also get everyone up to dance when we do faster-paced songs like Let’s Twist Again by Chubby Checker or Elvis’ Hound Dog.

“The Calypso songs are also popular, especially Bermuda Is Another World [by Hubert Smith]”

Mr Brannon added: “We’ll have a rip-roaring time. It’s going to be a fun day.”

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