I have been overwhelmed with emails and messages from people who are interested in Singing for the Brain, who would like to train as leaders, or who would like to take their friend or relative to a group.
This is wonderful because it says to me there are lots of people who are convinced that singing really makes a difference to the lives of people living with dementia, and their friends, families and carers; and it also says there are many people who are prepared to train to do this work – fantastic news!
There are several different roles in a Singing for the Brain group. The most obvious one is Singing Facilitator, although this role is supported by volunteers, either specific ‘singing volunteers’ who might be called upon to lead a section of the group in part of a round, and volunteers who might not consider themselves ‘singers’ but who help out with tea and coffee, welcoming people and giving out name badges if these are used, arranging the chairs, assisting with the giving out of books, and helping people find their page numbers or to use different percussion instruments. It’s important also to recognise the hard work the dementia support workers (employed by the Alzheimer’s Society) put in to make these groups happen, and the support we have from the mental health trust who send Community Psychiatric Nurses and Occupational Therapists to be additional supports.
There is some Singing facilitator and volunteer training available on an ad hoc basis, mainly based in the South West region as this is currently the only place where there is a Singing for the Brain Co-ordinator. If you don’t live in this region, the best thing to do is to get in touch with your local Alzheimer’s Society office to find out if there is something going on in your area, or to register your interest. For more information, please visit the Alzheimer’s Society website page on Singing for the Brain: http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=760