Benefits of music for those living with Alzheimer’s

Performing at Eden Community Centre were the Ulster Orchestra quartet of Tamas Kocsis (violin), Michael Alexander (violin), William Goodwin (viola), and Morag Stewart (cello).  INCT 15-740-CON
Performing at Eden Community Centre were the Ulster Orchestra quartet of Tamas Kocsis (violin), Michael Alexander (violin), William Goodwin (viola), and Morag Stewart (cello). INCT 15-740-CON

The benefits of music for those living with Alzheimer’s has been outlined during a performance at Eden Community Centre.

A quartet from the Ulster Orchestra performed a set for people with dementia, along with their family and friends at the Carrickfergus venue last Thursday.

The group, which included Ulster Orchestra leader Tamas Kocsis (violin), along with colleagues Michael Alexander (violin), William Goodwin (viola), and Morag Stewart (cello) played music by Haydn as well as a number of popular pieces from well-known movies and musicals.

Alzheimer’s Society runs a variety of activity groups that provide a social atmosphere and aim to help participants with dementia keep physically and mentally active as well as helping people express themselves.

Those who attend are able to take part in a range of activities including rhythm and movement, craft, and gardening.

Lisa Hendley, group co-ordinator for Alzheimer’s Society in Northern Ireland, said: “We’re delighted to have the Ulster Orchestra quartet performing for all our activity groups as part of a Community Outreach programme.

“Music and singing have been shown to have a beneficial impact on people with dementia and the music being performed by the quartet is very uplifting.

“Tamas is also an excellent master of ceremonies; he interacts very well with the audience and gives a brief history of the music being played. 

“The whole quartet has been amazing. They are so friendly and have been happy to stay and chat with the audience and answer questions. “

The visit to Carrick follows previous performances by the quartet in Portballintrae and Ballymena last month, said Mr Kocsis.

“We thoroughly enjoyed performing in Carrickfergus,” he added.

“It is such a pleasure to be able to reach people in the community who otherwise might not have access to live music.

“I hope we can work with Ms Hendley and her groups many more times in the future.”

There are 20,000 people with dementia living in Northern Ireland, with a total of 800,000 across the UK, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

In less than 10 years, a million people will be living with dementia.

It is thought this number will soar to 1.7 million people by 2051.

However, with the right support, people can live well with the condition for a number of years.

Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them, working across Northern Ireland, Wales and England.

The charity relies on voluntary donations to continue its vital work.

To find out more about the new or existing groups run by the Alzheimer’s Society, visit alzheimers.org.uk/localinformation or contact 02894461717.