Music Makers helping people with dementia in Great Yarmouth

Music Makers launch at St George's Theatre in Great Yarmouth

Music Makers launch at St George's Theatre in Great Yarmouth - Credit: Archant

Music has been called a universal language and now, a Great Yarmouth group, is using tunes to help people with dementia.

Music Makers, an offshoot of the hugely successful St Andrew's Memory Club, is bringing together music-lovers, carers and experts to help those affected by Alzheimer's.

Meeting monthly at Christchurch in Yarmouth, the club is a voluntary organisation funded by Ageing Well and supported by Make It Happen, the neighbourhood community group.

'The University of Paris says singing can improve memory in Alzheimer's patients,' said Peter Watters, Music Makers leader. 'The research is there and I have seen it myself, I've seen improvements.

'There was one man who couldn't talk, he couldn't communicate with his wife. But he would hear the music and he would sing along.'


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Peter believes music helps us learn and remember, and it makes us want to move, whether it's tapping our feet or clapping our hands.

He said the University of Paris research looked at the effects on people with moderate to severe Alzheimer's who sang instead of speaking.

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Those who sang performed better in subsequent tests. Research is now underway to see if singing could prevent memory loss in the early stages of dementia.

'At Music Makers we sing and play instruments so that we can trigger memories,' explained Peter. 'The aim is to have fun at the same time. It builds confidence and makes people happy. And while we're there, the carers can sit and relax together.'

Louise Hampton, Make it Happen manager, said: 'The Music Makers is a hard working, dedicated group committeed to helping those with Alzheimer's.

'We are proud to have supported the group to fund funding to continue. We hope the group grows and flourishes so that those who need its support can continue to benefit.'

The club takes referrals from the Alzheimer's Association, but anyone interested can get in touch. Meetings are at Christchurch every fourth Thursday from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. The church and venue is fully accessible and there is an on-site cafe.

Anyone interested in helping or volunteering is also invited to call Peter on 07500846236 or email peterwatters1@hotmail.co.uk.

Earlier this month, Mayor of Great Yarmouth, Cllr Shirley Weymouth attended an official launch of the club at St George's Theatre. Peter said it was a huge success and thanked the mayor for taking the time to speak to every single person who attended.

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