MHA Richmond care home resident George Soulsby, 72, has written a song about life with dementia to mark World Alzheimer’s Day (21 September), sharing his own light-hearted perspective on the condition.

George, who has vascular dementia, hopes the video of him performing his song, ‘Dementia and Me’ will be shared far and wide. He wants others to hear the voices of people living with dementia and to see that life still has humour and joy. George has been a resident at MHA Richmond in East Sussex for three years and has enjoyed music throughout his life. As a young man, he played the harmonica and sang in a friend's band. He was also a member of a local choir in Bexhill.

George wrote the song during his weekly music therapy sessions with music therapist Lori. He helped choose the chords for Lori, so she could accompany him on the piano, and by the next session, he had written a full page of lyrics! Both George and Lori were interviewed by Channel 5 News on 21 September 2020 about "Dementia & Me".

Lori said: “This is an incredible achievement by George. He worked so hard on his song during our sessions, and really wanted to show the lighter side of living with dementia. We’re all so proud of him!”

George added “I thought it was a good subject to write about. I wanted the song to be relatable – perhaps someone out there is going through the same as me, or someone’s mum or dad, wife or husband, friend or loved one is living with dementia.”

At MHA, we are proud to be a leading provider of music therapy and, thanks to charitable income, we are able to deliver the life-enhancing service at no additional cost to our care home residents who are living with advanced stages of dementia. Music therapy is more than just singing songs.

It helps to alleviate isolation and the symptoms for those living with dementia by helping to unlock special memories, reconnect with their loved ones and express emotions and feelings that other forms of communication cannot, even if the individual is no longer able to speak or respond to other people’s words.

Our music therapists have had to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic, we spoke to our senior music therapist Clare Barone, who said: “COVID-19 has required everyone to adapt their work and in particular ways to utilise technology. To maintain a continuous music therapy service to support our residents such as George, we have adapted the way we work, following strict infection control procedures, including the use of PPE and incorporating social distancing into their practice.

“We have also been finding innovative ways to stay in touch with care homes that we may be unable to visit at this time, through regular catch-ups and delivering Zoom music therapy groups, working hard to ensure that homes which we are not physically present in do not feel forgotten. Music therapists have also supported online contact with family members with weekly video calls.”

Learn more about life in an MHA care home >

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