Down Memory Lane is a social singing group which takes place every second Thursday of the month from 2pm – 4pm. Anyone with any form of dementia and their carers are welcome to come along for tea, biscuits and lots of chat, singing and laughter.
The purpose of each session is to:
- Help carers and those living with dementia to meet together in a relaxed, informal atmosphere, where they are encouraged to engage with each other.
- Improve neurological pathways.
- Lift or prevent depression through using music that reassures, inspires, surprises, delights and can provide a challenge.
- Help families living with dementia have time out and enforce their right to feel part of a society which enjoys artistic and social stimulation.
- Encourage carers and those with dementia to be pro-active in networking with others.
We do this by setting up the room giving an area with small tables where people are served tea/coffee and biscuits at the start of the session.
Across from this area, we set out chairs in semi circles around where the musicians will stand so that everybody has a clear view of the leaders. Song books are provided, clearly printed, and pages are numbered. After the first cup of tea, people move across the hall to start singing. We have musicians who play along and Carol leads the singing which takes place for about 20 minutes. Then we have a break for another cuppa and more biscuits followed by 20 more minutes of song.
The songs are all familiar “oldies” and, if you get the urge to get up and dance, then that’s OK with us! Just come along on the second Thursday of the month at 2pm in the parish centre where you will receive a warm welcome.
Dementia Friendly Church
As part of our Mission Action Plan for 2017 we committed to work towards becoming a dementia friendly church. Following Dementia Friends talks to 67 people, including a men’s breakfast and CAMEO and feedback from our friends from the Down Memory Lane singing group, who are living with dementia, we concluded that, rather than look at new ways of doing things it is more important that we are inclusive in all we do.
An 11 point plan has been submitted to the Parochial Church Council for approval, which requires very little adjustment to what we already do and can realistically be achieved within our current resources – the main issues being awareness, signage (which was already on the agenda) and the addition of a dementia friendly service sheet for the Tuesday service. An information pack has also been produced for home groups wishing to raise awareness about how we can all improve the lives of those living with dementia.
Implementation of the action plan has been delayed as we await the arrival of our new Vicar, Rev Cpt Nick Green CA, who will be with us in February 2018. Once we have completed it we can truly call ourselves dementia friendly and display the logo in church and on our website. We will also continue our associations with the Chesterfield Dementia Action Alliance and also with the Alzheimers’ Society.
At Christmas 2017 we were invited in to Lea Hurst Day Unit at Walton Hospital to deliver a service to people with dementia. We delivered a short service on two occasions, which told the Christmas story in plain language, using colourful, tactile figures to illustrate the story and involve everyone. We sang some well- known carols and all had a lovely time.