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Discussion, chorus performance promotes dementia-friendly community

MADISON (WKOW) — Leaders from all faiths in Madison came together on Saturday to discuss how church communities can become more dementia-friendly.

The event, held at Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison, was meant to not just be educational, but also interactive.

There was a performance of the Amazing Grace Chorus. The chorus is made up of people who have dementia and their caregivers.

“So actually when they participate in this chorus, it gives them and opportunity to do some enjoyable with their loved one outside of the care-giving,” said Senior Outreach Specialist, Stephanie Houston.

Exposing people with dementia to music can be beneficial to their memory.

“Musical notes in general stimulate the memory,” said Chorus Director, Kevin C. Williams. “It brings back memory more so than any medicine on the planet.”

Bill Pier’s family started noticing signs of dementia in 2005. Over the next 4 years it was confirmed that he suffered from the disease. Bill and his wife are part of the chorus.

“There is this magic, this miracle about music that the memory is able to come up with the words to songs and sing them with expression and passion,” said Joanne Pier. “Words that probably most of the time can’t be said but can only be sung.”

According to the World Health Organization, the number of people living with dementia in the world is estimated at 47 million.

That number is projected to triple by 2050.

Amanda Hari

Reporter, WKOW

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