Scottish Strings partners with weekly project providing support to dementia sufferers


On the first Friday of every month, St Cecilia’s Hall hosts a free event providing activities designed to stimulate dementia sufferers.

“People have the opportunity to socialise and participate in a meaningful, collections-focused talk and activity designed to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome,” Dr Sarah Deters, Learning and Engagement Curator at St Cecilia’s, tells EN4 News.

“Many of the participants have formed their own community, offering each other support, through the programme.”

Nadine, who takes her mother along to the events regularly, said that a lot of the other dementia programmes are too long and difficult for her mum to understand but this one is different.

“Being able to listen to the live music is fantastic,” she said, “they have the most amazing collection of instruments.”

Research shows that musical memory is one of the last memories that sufferers of dementia lose.

“Music has tangible, evidence-based benefits for people with dementia, such as helping to minimise the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, tackling depression and anxiety, and, importantly, helping to improve quality of life.”

This morning’s event began with tea and coffee, creating a social environment, followed by a talk on Scottish string instruments, given by Ms Deters herself.

The main activity was a performance of traditional string music, specifically clarsach and mandolin.

St Cecilia’s joined a partnership in 2017 called Social, a programme created specifically to cater for sufferers of dementia. The hall is the home of Edinburgh University’s musical instrument collection.

Ms Deters highlighted that the programme has demonstrated how cultural institutions and museums can have a positive impact on people suffering from diseases such as dementia.

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