Search

Singing for the Brain: ‘I watched my mother come alive in those sessions - and now they’re gone’

09:54 22 May 2014

A dementia event and Singing for the Brain taster session at the IRDSA Hall, in Barkingside

A dementia event and Singing for the Brain taster session at the IRDSA Hall, in Barkingside

Archant

Those living with dementia and their carers have sung its praises, but it looks as though an innovative programme that uses music and dance may have had its swansong.

May 18-24 is Dementia Awareness Week. Here’s what’s going on in Redbridge

n Thursday, 11am, Valentines Park (meet at Mansion Cafe): Dementia walk in conjunction with Dementia Adventure

n Thursday, 10am-2pm, South Woodford Library: Information and Awareness session hosted by the Alzheimer’s Society

n Friday, 11am-1pm, Mildmay Locality Base, 69 Albert Road, Ilford: Asian carers drop in and dementia awareness information session

n Friday, 10am-2pm, Wanstead Library: Information and Awareness session hosted by the Alzheimer’s Society

Singing for the Brain is an Alzheimer’s Society project which brings together those affected by dementia for sessions of singing and dancing in a stimulating, social environment. For one Redbridge pensioner, it was a lifeline.

In 2011, 84-year-old Lucilla Kostecka was diagnosed with the progressive condition, and quickly started to feel depressed, stigmatised and isolated. That was until late 2013, when she and her 50-year-old daughter Loretta, who is also her primary carer, started attending NHS-funded Singing for the Brain sessions at IRDSA Hall in Fullwell Cross, Barkingside.

“What a difference it made to both of us and to my fellow group members,” says Loretta.

“My mother, like others, despite not knowing where she is, goes through the door and starts smiling and looks pleased to be there.

“She knows and associates the hall with safety and happiness, seeing genuine, friendly people around greeting her. “It does not take much persuasion for her to get ready for the session in the afternoon when I remind her of the ‘singing and dancing group’.”

But in February this year, funding ran out, and Redbridge Council decided it didn’t have the cash in its coffers to go on paying for the service because “there are already a number of other similar schemes for residents in operation around the borough”.

As well as the rare chance for many to access long-term memories music preserves, gone is the opportunity for Lucilla and others like her to socialise in a sensitive and compassionate space.

“I have witnessed my mother and others become responsive when addressed, touched on the hand or encouraged on to the dance floor, becoming alive and buoyed on by sharing a happy experience with someone else,” adds Loretta, who is particularly irked that a few miles away in Havering, dementia sufferers and their carers have no less than three active Singing for the Brain groups to choose from.

Nationwide, there are 200 active groups run by the Alzheimer’s Society. Their regional operations manager for London, Julian Lloyd, has said the decision to close the service was not one taken lightly, but with no funding they were left with no alternative.

The charity also plans to use an opportunity provided by Redbridge Council’s dementia strategy consultation to lobby for Singing for the Brain to be considered a “priority service”.

There may be hope yet, but for now Loretta Kostecka and her mother will have to wait.

• Dementia Awareness Week runs until Sunday, with several events – including some organised by the council – taking place in borough

Latest Ilford News Stories

Yesterday, 18:38
Pupils open their results at Beal High School

The hill was alive with the sound of ripping envelopes as pupils gathered on the green to find out their latest GCSE grades.

Yesterday, 14:57
Operational Director of the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines with Havering and Redbridge London Assembly member Keith Prince and reporter Matt Clemenson on London's first official Night Tube service.

From Gants Hill to Goodmayes, if you live or work in Redbridge we want to hear what matters to you and what is going on in your area.

Yesterday, 11:37
Redbridge mayor Cllr Gurdial Bhamra took the time to speak to all the stallholders at the Redbridge Community Day at Town Hall

Police officers face-painting children, henna tattoos and a fire engine open to the public were just some of the attractions at the Redbridge Community Day held at the Town Hall yesterday.

Yesterday, 09:34
Reporters Matthew Clemenson and Ann-Marie Abbasah join the Shah Satnam Ji Green 'S' Welfare Force Wing team to clean up an alley between Highbury Gardens and New Road, Ilford.

The unsightly piles of rubbish littering an alleyway off Highbury Gardens, Seven Kings, had become an eyesore for far too long.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now