Making a song and dance about dementia at Pendine Park

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Pendine Park staff, patients and relatives will be taking part in an international Rock Against Dementia. Pictured are Pendine staff Anite Moran , Olivia Thomas and Chris Hodge.

 

Musical care home residents and staff are going to rock against dementia – including a singer who shared a stage with Pixie Lott.

The event at the Pendine Park care organisation will involve all seven of their care homes in Wrexham.

The aim of the Rock against Dementia event is to raise awareness about the cruel condition.

Among the star turns will be enrichment coordinator Olivia Thomas, 27, who is a member of a girl band, Indigo City, outside work.

A few years ago they shared a stage with pop diva Pixie Lott at Chester Rocks and last year the performed at the city’s Gay Pride celebration.

Olivia said: “I did my degree at Liverpool in Performing Arts but sort of fell into care work which I absolutely love.  It’s amazing to see residents smile and having a good time.

“The one thing people with dementia retain is a sense of rhythm. They might sometimes forget the lyrics to a song but never the music and they will often hum along even if they can’t sing.”

The organisers include Olivia’s colleague, enrichment co-ordinator Anita Moran, who is also a Dementia Champion at the Hillbury Care Home.

She said: “Last year we held a Rock Against Dementia event at a Wrexham pub but this year we have decided to keep it in house and are organising a party at Hillbury for residents, relatives and staff.

“We are having our pop-up bar and a few brave staff members have agreed to join some residents by picking up microphones and giving it a go and singing a few tunes.

“On the same day, Friday, March 18, Highfield House and Gwern Alyn Care Homes are holding tea parties. Highfield are having an entertainer while at Gwern Alyn there’s going to be a poetry event.

“Bodlondeb, Pendine Park’s centre of excellence for dementia care, is holding a karaoke afternoon. Events are tailored to what residents and families prefer.”

Rock against Dementia began in Cleveland, Ohio, in the USA in 2014 in response to the screening of a film, Alive Inside, at the Cleveland International Film Festival and it’s grown into an international phenomenon.

Anita is also a Purple Angel ambassador and visits shops, schools and other organisations giving out posters and literature to help raise awareness of the devastating effects of dementia and how to spot the signs that someone is suffering with the condition.

She said: “I’ll talk to anyone that will listen really. It’s important to grab any opportunity to help people recognise and deal appropriately with dementia.

“I do have firsthand experience as my dad suffered from the condition. He was a very proud man and had been brought up in a very rigid unemotional way.

“He went to boarding school and growing up we never got hugs from him although we knew he loved us.

“It was only when he was diagnosed with dementia that he started to give and want hugs. We wondered, as a family, whether he’d always wanted to show emotion like that but simply didn’t know how to.

“Perhaps it was only his dementia that allowed him to show his true emotions. But at least I got a hug from my dad before he died.”

Rock Against Dementia takes place on Friday, March 18, and  to learn more about the project visit www.purpleangel-global.com or www.wrad.co.uk

To learn more about Pendine Park Care Organisation visit www.pendinepark.com